Upgrades to the Lake Tapps Elementary School include three new classrooms, in blue, and a secutiry door at the front entrance, plus others. Image courtesy of the Dieringer School District.

Dieringer residents to vote on $9.5 million school bond

The bond, which would go toward renovating both elementary schools and the middle school, as well as pay the district’s share of remodeling the Bonney Lake and Sumner high schools, comes with a property tax rate increase of $0.23 per $1,000 in assessed value.

The deadline for the Feb. 14 special election is fast approaching, which means Dieringer School District residents have less than a week to vote on a $9.5 million bond measure for the district.

The bond, which would go toward renovating both elementary schools and the middle school, as well as pay the district’s share of remodeling the Bonney Lake and Sumner high schools, comes with a property tax rate increase of $0.23 per $1,000 in assessed value.

This equates out to roughly $9.58 per month for a $500,000 home.

The total bond rate will be around $2.47 through 2022 for area residents, and is expected to decrease by around $0.35 for the remaining life of the bond afterward, reads the bond’s explanatory statement.

But the bond is more than just paying for extra security doors or additional classrooms — if it doesn’t pass, the district risks being disincorporated and absorbed by surrounding districts, said Superintendent Judy Martinson.

To pass, at least 2,038 residents need to vote, and a supermajority (or 60 percent) of those voters need to approve the measure.


The district is splitting the bond money into three general projects – adding three classrooms to Lake Tapps Elementary, adding security doors and replacing the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems in all three schools, and paying Dieringer’s share of remodeling the Sumner School District’s two high schools.

The reason Lake Tapps needs new classrooms, Martinson said, was because of the recent education rules passed by the Legislature.

“The legislature, a few years ago, lowered primary class sizes,” she said. “We used to be able to put 100 children in four rooms. Now I need five rooms for that same 100 children.”

Also, the state legislature made full-time kindergarten mandatory, which further limited the space the school had for classrooms.

The district plans to start construction on the new classrooms in March (if the bond passes), and plans to move students out to portables during that time.

The reason why construction can start so soon on the new classrooms is because the Dieringer School Board took an exceptional action last summer, Martinson said.

“If we had not done that, we would have had to wait to run the bond issue,” she continued. “We wouldn’t be doing construction for this fall. It would be for the following fall. And we’re already out of room.”

Lake Tapps Elementary is also going to sport a new security entrance, complete with a security camera and a buzz-in system.

All together, with replacing the school’s HVAC replacement and a new coat of paint, Lake Tapps Elementary’s projects will cost an approximate total of $2 million.

Another $1.3 million goes to addressing issues at the other two schools.

“The have the same HVAC system control issues that need to be updated,” Martinson said. “And they both just need some physical upgrades, as well as security entrances at both schools.”

And the remaining $6.2 million, she continued, will go out of district to help renovate the Bonney Lake and Sumner high schools.


Dieringer School District is a kindergarten through eighth grade district, and has no high schools.

State law allows students that graduate from Dieringer to attend any high school they wish, provided they have adequate transportation.

But state law also requires the Dieringer School District to participate in other districts’ capital bonds, if 33 percent or more Dieringer students attend that district’s high schools.

“Which only makes sense, because it’s not fair to ask the Auburn voters to build schools for Dieringer children, or Sumner voters to build schools for Dieringer children,” Martinson said.

Currently, 64 percent of graduated Dieringer students head to the Sumner School District, which means Dieringer has to help out with the $164 million bond measure Sumner School District voters approved last year.

But Dieringer doesn’t have to help pay for Sumner’s elementary or middle schools, Martinson said – only the high schools.

And when Sumner’s bond is boiled down, only $62 million of the $164 million bond is going to the high schools.

Dieringer’s share of that $62 million is 10 percent, or $6.2 million, because Dieringer students make up 10 percent of the total students in the Sumner School District high schools.

But if Dieringer’s bond measure doesn’t pass, and the district doesn’t help fund Sumner’s high school remodels, the district may face some dire consequences.

“If we fail to pass it, then we have to immediately put it on the ballot again and run it again within 60 days,” Martinson said. “If it still doesn’t pass, then it’s turned over to a regional committee that determines the disposition of the district — assets and liabilities.

“What that means is that they can decide to take all of the district and give it to an adjoining district… or they can divide it and redistrict it,” Martinson said.

More in News

New utility included in Enumclaw budget; final vote set for Nov. 27

Significant progress has been made on crafting a 2018 Enumclaw budget, a document that could forever change the way the city collects and disperses certain funds. The plan now under way would see creation of a stormwater utility probably by August of the coming year.

Proposed recycling center sparks environmental fears

A proposed material processing facility outside of Enumclaw has some local conservationists worried about how it may affect the Green River and other natural environments. “The location of this, next to this natural area, just is not right. It doesn’t make sense to us at all, for a variety of reasons,” said Bernie McKinney, president of the Green River Coalition, a non-profit preservationist group.

Mobile Impaired Driving Unit hitting the streets this holiday weekend

The MIDU is a self-contained 36 foot motorhome that has been retrofitted as a mobile DUI processing center and incident command post.

Two Enumclaw volunteers honored for work at library

Two members of the Enumclaw Friends of the Library were honored during the recent Friends’ Day, an annual celebration of King County Library System volunteers.

Abigail Hill, 19, is crowned Miss Washington by the 2017 title winner, Alex Carlson-Helo. Photo courtesy Jerry and Lois Photography
Local Miss Washington prepares for national stage

That’s right — Enumclaw is competing in Miss U.S.A. Abigail Hill, the city’s newest star, was recently crowned Miss Washington , clearing the way for her to compete nationally in the spring.

Beyond the Borders now travels from Sumner to Bonney Lake

Come December, it’ll be easier for youth, seniors, people with disabilities or low-income to travel between Sumner and Bonney Lake.

Early start to Crystal ski season

The outdoor season has officially greeted those heading uphill, with snow deep enough to enjoy.

Suspect faces possible ‘third strike’ after alleged car chase, kidnapping

A suspect with a long criminal history finds himself in “third strike” jeopardy, the result of an alleged robbery in Enumclaw and ensuing car chase out of town.

Why now is a good time for a flu shot | Public Health Insider

With the holidays drawing near, many of us look forward to travel or seeing family and friends. And just as our schedules get busier, it’s also the time of year when the flu starts to circulate. We turned to Libby Page, manager of our immunizations program, to get the scoop on flu vaccine.

Election 2017: Change in Enumclaw; Buckley mayor race close

The 2017 general election is over, and although the results are still two weeks from being certified, many candidates are in the clear to take up their elected positions come winter.

Get your fill of winter activities on Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier’s landscape undergoes a dramatic transformation in winter.