The Auburn School District Board of Directors has set a bond election for Tuesday, November 8. The bond will provide additional classrooms, modern learning facilities and improved safety.
More than 60 ASD parents and staff served on a 2015 citizens committee. After studying the district needs for 12 weeks, the committee made the following recommendations to the school board:
Replace six schools:
Terminal Park Elementary, built in 1945
Dick Scobee Elementary, built in 1954
Olympic Middle School, built in 1957
Pioneer Elementary, built in 1959
Chinook Elementary, built in 1963
Lea Hill Elementary, built in 1965
Build two new schools:
A school in the north end for 650 students, K-5
A school in the south end for 650 students, K-5
The district is growing and students need more classroom space. Enrollment has grown by 1,074 students over the last five years. The district expects 1,670 more students in the next five years. Additionally, adding free full-day kindergarten and providing state-supported lower-class sizes has resulted in 102 portables across the district and schools utilizing hallways and, even closets, in some instances as classrooms.
Old schools are costly to maintain and lack essential features of new schools. Auburn takes care of its facilities, but after more than 50 years these schools divert money from the educational operating budget for repairs. A recent analysis determined bringing these six aging schools up to modern learning standards would cost more than 70 percent of building a new school.
The new and rebuilt schools will feature:
• Increased student safety
• Elementary schools will have increased classroom space for 650 students
• Infrastructure for modern technology
• Earthquake readiness improvements
• Improved parking and access
• Energy efficient heating, cooling and lighting
• High-quality design and construction
The overall school tax rate has dropped each of the last three years, from $6.62 to $5.83, a 79 cent decrease. If passed, the bond would add an estimated $1.03 per $1,000 of assessed valuation to construct eight new schools for $456 million. These projects would bring an estimated $79 million in state matching funds to Auburn.
The Auburn School District is committed to providing students with the best opportunity for learning. During the last 10 years, the district built Arthur Jacobsen and Lakeland Hills elementary schools and did a complete modernization and reconstruction of Auburn High School. All projects came in on-time, under-budget and are high-quality schools that will last for generations.