SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane Public Schools leaders and city leaders are asking voters to approve a close to $500 million bond.
They plan to make major improvements to their facilities including building three new middle schools and rebuilding three current ones. City leaders also want to modernize four current libraries and build three new ones.
Glover Middle School is on the list of replacement schools along with Sacajawea and Shaw Middle Schools. These schools will be rebuilt on their current properties and three brand new middle schools will be added to the district.
Glover Middle School Principal Mark Lund gave KREM 2 a tour of the school Monday. Some of the first things he pointed out were the spots with serious water damage. Leaks have caused irreversible damage to the ceiling in the hallways and in the locker rooms. Walking down the main hallway of the school you see the grime and rot on a wall which has been impossible to remove because of asbestos, according to Lund. Lund said the school was built in the 50's and its age is beginning to show.
And it is not just the maintenance that worries Lund. It is the safety and security of the building.
"Big concern was fire safety, so they built these buildings with every classroom having an exterior door. Well, as times have changed we are definitely looking at more of the security of the building and every room having an exterior door isn't beneficial,” Principal Lund said.
The bond proposal asks for about $495 million. The state is pitching in close to $58 million, specifically for the replacement schools. All together the project is going to cost $553.2 million.
The district estimates Spokane's property tax rate will drop by $2.20 per $1,000 in 2019. This is because taxpayers in Spokane have been paying more in taxes than some other cities throughout the state for education.
Historically, basic education funding has been the responsibility of local districts and their taxpayers. The McCleary decision hands off that burden to the state. Instead of just pulling money from local taxes, schools are getting funding from the entire state.
The school district is asking for a portion of those savings. They want 98 cents per 1,000 of that $2.20 for schools and libraries. For example, someone with a $200,000 house would be paying an estimated $16 a month to fund the facility improvement bonds should they pass.