New Bellevue School District bond to fund school rebuilds, renovations and security

The BSD capital bond will be on the Feb. 11 ballot

The Bellevue School District (BSD) is asking the community for continued support.

The Bellevue community has supported students and schools by rebuilding and remodeling school facilities since 2002, the district said.

BSD is floating a capital bond in the Feb. 11 election to address needs in the areas of aging schools, improving safety, and adding classroom space to accommodate the district’s continued growth.

“We are proud of our students, staff, schools and community here in Bellevue, and continue the work started 20 years ago to ensure every student receives an equitable education at our schools,” BSD Superintendent Ivan Duran said in a press release. “We know students learn best in a building that is safe and modern. This bond will rebuild schools and improve security across our district.”

BSD director of communications Michael May said the district has always appreciated the community’s support.

“We couldn’t do anything without the support and trust of the community,” he said. “We work to be good stewards, fulfilling our promises to the community.”

The capital bond will allow for complete replacements of Big Picture School, International School and Jing Mei Elementary. The bond also will fund renovations for Newport and Interlake High Schools, as well as provide modern learning spaces for science, technology, engineering and math classes.

The capital bond will add security vestibules to eight schools that currently do not have them. Security vestibules make visitors enter the vestibule before entering the main school area and require them to enter the office to check-in before gaining access to the rest of the building.

The set of doors between the vestibule and the school remain locked and only open out.

In addition to security vestibules, the capital bond will add safety posts in front of 19 school entrances that do not have them. Fitting the entrance and exit points with fixed bollards protects them from potential vehicle impact, protecting students, staff and families inside and around the doorway, the district said.

The capital bond also will fund the replacement of the aging education service centers. It will implement modern facilities to allow central office staff and administrators to better support students, teachers and the community.

And the capital bond will designate to purchase property for future school locations.

“[It] allows a faster response by the district if appropriate property becomes available,” the district said. “[It] enables the district to plan for the future as our community continues to grow.”

The capital bond will cost $675 million. If approved, the local tax rate for the schools will increase by $0.03 per $1,000 of assessed value, an increase of less than 1 percent.

For the average valued home of $850,000, a Bellevue resident currently pays $2.43 per $1,000 of assessed property value, according to BSD. With the proposed bond, that will increase by 3 cents a year, or $2.46 per $1,000 of assessed property value, or $25.50 per year for the average valued home.

“All voter-approved funding stays in our school district to benefit our Bellevue students. Major construction projects are not funded with state dollars, but instead rely on these funding measures,” the district said in a release.

Melissa deVita, the deputy superintendent of finance and operations for BSD, said the district needs to be ready for future growth.

According to the city of Bellevue Planning Department in its presentation to the BSD school board, the city anticipates about 40,000 new jobs and about 16,000 new housing units by 2035.

“Bellevue is only getting bigger, and the kids will keep coming,” she said. “We need to be prepared for the future growth.”

For more information about the upcoming Feb. 11 capital bond, go online to https://bsd405.org/2020bond/.

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