File photo. Courtesy creativeoutlet.com

File photo. Courtesy creativeoutlet.com

Bellevue backs school district’s capital bond measure

The measure will be on the Feb. 11 special election ballot.

The Bellevue City Council unanimously voted at its Jan. 21 meeting to approve a resolution that supports the proposed Bellevue School District (BSD) capital bond measure.

The bond will be on the Feb. 11 special election ballot. If passed by the public, it will add to the local tax rate $0.03 to every $1,000 of assessed value. This is a less-than-1-percent increase.

The bond will garner some $675 million for school capital enhancements. It needs to be supported by at least 60 percent of voters to be implemented.

If approved, the new measure would take the place of a similar bond that became effective in 2014.

Currently, for a Bellevue resident with a home valued at the average of $850,000, $2.43 per $1,000 is paid on an assessed property value. The bond would increase that to $2.46 per $1,000, coming to about $25.50 annually compared to the current rate.

At its previous meeting, the city council received a school-district report that covered what the bond would fund. Improvements include the addition of security vestibules, safety posts to entrances and more.

The bond also would help rebuild Big Picture School, International School and Jing Mei Elementary at their current sites, as well as renovate the Newport and Interlake High Schools.

Before the council took its vote at the Jan. 21 meeting, those both in favor of and in opposition to the measure were able to speak to the council before the vote for the resolution was conducted.

There were no opponents who signed up to speak at the meeting. But two representatives in favor of the measure — community members and BSD parents Renuka Getchell and Michael Chen — argued for its passage, and shared why they thought it was significant for the council to endorse the measure.

“I think it is really important that community and the schools are really important to the city of Bellevue,” said Getchell, who is a real estate agent. “In real estate, there’s the saying ‘location, location, location.’ In recent years, it’s ‘schools, schools, location.’”

“That’s key — to plan for the future,” Chen said. “As a land-use planner by trade during the day, I’ve seen the growth of Bellevue. I’ve been here since ‘94, and I’ve seen the changes. It’s exciting to see what’s ahead for the next 30, 40, 50 years.”

Chen added that endorsement by the city is crucial in supporting the idea that “dynamic schools make dynamic communities.”

The council was united in its support of the resolution. Some councilmembers, Janice Zahn and Jennifer Robertson, brought up their own experiences as parents of children who are educated by the district.

Robertson, who has had kids in the BSD at different times over the last 17 years, shared that one of her daughters, who currently attends Newport High School, eats outside every day because of a lack of space in the cafeteria.

“We need the facilities for kids; we need the facilities for new programs, because having a usable, positive and safe — emphasis on the “safe” with the safety upgrades — [environment] for learning is really important for the health of our youth,” Robertson said. “And as the health of our youth, there goes the health of our community. For me, I think — and I think we all agree — that good schools are one of the cornerstones of having a great community. In Bellevue, we’re lucky to have both.”

Councilmember John Stokes noted that although he’s aware that the amount of money needed for improvements might make some community members wary, it’s necessary for students to have quality environments in which to learn.

“What you get out of it, and what this district does and what the levy has done, is come up with a quality plan and effort for buildings and structure and infrastructure that will match and accelerate the education and the excellence of the education,” Stokes said. “I just think this is a winner all around. This community can afford [the measure]. It’s a very, very small increase, actually, when it comes down to the taxes. It’s well worth it, and this community has always, always supported bonds and levies for the districts. And there’s no reason to quit doing it now.”

For the full conversation around the bond’s support, watch the Jan. 21 Bellevue City Council meeting recording online (https://bit.ly/38L65Z6).


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@bellevuereporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.bellevuereporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

Google Images
Racial disparities in bike helmet law forces decision by King County health board

On Oct. 21, the King County Board of Health discussed striking down… Continue reading

Geographic dispersion of Washington State Patrol commissioned personnel who lost their jobs Oct. 18. (Washington State Patrol)
Rather than get vaccine, nearly 1,900 state workers lose jobs

Exactly how many people will be out of work for ignoring Gov.… Continue reading

King County Courthouse adjacent to City Hall Park (courtesy of City of Seattle)
County council votes to take dangerous park out of Seattle’s hands

City Hall Park, next to the courthouse in downtown Seattle, has had multiple reports of crime.

stock image
Health care workers call on state’s hospitals to help mitigate staffing crisis

Health care workers unions claim hospitals have the resources to fix the issue.

file photo
Eastside Fire & Rescue says their response times will not be affected by absence of unvaccinated employees

Spokesperson says about 13 employees have left the department at the moment.

File photo
Do you need to pay for your COVID hospital stay?

Washington state law requires hospitals to provide free care for certain income brackets.

Stock photo
State AG Ferguson leads effort supporting local journalism

Federal legislation offers tax credits to subscribers, businesses and news organizations

Lambert’s flyer depicting her opponent, Sarah Perry, as a “socialist puppet” (tweeted by KC Councilmember Girmay Zahilay)
County councilmember sends out flyers depicting her opponent as a “socialist puppet”

Some say the imagery and rhetoric used are racist and divisive.

Most Read