Bond Facts - Bellingham Public Schools
I N F O R M A T I O N
P L E A S E RE ME MBE R T O V O T E IN T HE NO V E MBE R 5 E L E C T ION
Voters will decide on a bond on Nov. 5,
2013 regarding facilities for Bellingham
Our schools cannot rely on the federal and
state government to adequately fund school
construction and protect the community’s
investment in our existing facilities through
maintenance, such as roof replacement.
Therefore, school districts in our state ask
Sunnyland Elementary School
(above) needs a new roof and flooring
improvements. The bond would fund
maintenance and energy efficiency
projects at all schools to save money
that can be redirected to the classroom.
local voters to approve bonds to cover these
This bond on the November ballot for
Bellingham Public Schools includes the
highest priority needs as identified by a
Facilities Planning Task Force. If approved
by voters, the facility projects would likely be
completed by 2019.
Why is the bond needed?
In fall 2012, Bellingham Public Schools
convened a Facilities Planning Task Force
representing numerous staff, students,
community members, parents and alumni.
After extensive research and meetings, the
Task Force identified many facility needs.
This bond addresses many, but not all of the
greatest needs. It includes several projects,
with the top priority to rebuild Sehome
High School. Sehome was built in 1966.
The building does not comply with current
energy codes. It is not fully handicapped
accessible and its layout creates potential
The bond also includes rebuilding Happy
Valley Elementary School. This building
faces many challenges including inadequate
electrical, old plumbing and poor heating/
For the past 20 years, Options High
School has been functioning out of seven
portables. The bond would fund the
construction of a new Options/Innovations
High School on the current property.
The bond includes safety upgrades for all
neighborhood schools; crucial maintenance
projects; energy efficiency projects; a central
kitchen for healthier food at all schools;
CONTINUED ON BACK
SCHOOL BOARD of DIRECTORS
President Kenneth B. Gass
Vice President Steven H. Smith
Director Kelly M. Bashaw
Director Camille Diaz Hackler
Director Scott Stockburger
1306 Dupont Street
Bellingham, WA 98225
Published August 2013
Sehome High School was built in 1966 and is in poor condition.
Why is the bond needed? (continued)
How can I vote?
planning for environmental learning upgrades at the Lake Whatcom Gordon Carter
Conservation site; renovating Lowell and Parkview elementary schools; improving safety
by renovating the existing transportation and district office buildings; and upgrades to
high school fields for students and community use.
Voters within Bellingham Public Schools’
attendance areas will receive a ballot in the
mail in October to vote on the bond. Ballots
must be postmarked and mailed or received
at this city drop-box location by Nov. 5,
2013: Whatcom County Courthouse
South Parking Lot, 201 Grand Ave.
Qualifying senior citizens and
persons with disabilities may be exempt
from paying school taxes. For more
information, please call the County
Assessor’s office at 676-6790 or visit:
Students at Parkview Elementary School use a combined gym and cafeteria.
Renovating Parkview is part of the bond.
What is the impact?
To support these projects, voters will be
asked to consider a $160 million bond. The
estimated total bond tax rate would increase
in 2014 by 49 cents per $1,000 assessed value.
This is approximately a $98 increase in 2014
for the owner of a home with an assessed
value of $200,000. The bond tax rate would
Projected Bond Rates
*Estimated total bond rate
for facilities per
$1,000 assessed value
continue to decrease each year after that,
settling to only 26 cents above the current
bond tax rate by 2019. Even if voters approve
this bond, Bellingham Public Schools’ total
tax rate would remain among the lowest in
the county, region and state.
*The rates above are estimates based upon the assessed value data available in 2013.
The Bellingham Promise
A MESSAGE from SUPERINTENDENT of SCHOOLS GREG BAKER
support and enhance
a high quality
To help deliver
The Bellingham Promise and the
outstanding education that our
community expects for our students, we
need schools that are safe and accessible
with updated and energy efficient
air flow, mechanical, electrical and
We’re fortunate to live in a community
that is so supportive of our schools. Part
of this bond includes protecting our
investments in existing neighborhood
schools and rebuilding or renovating some
of our facilities with the greatest need.
Superintendent of Schools
Committed to Our
The Facilities Planning Task Force’s
10-year plan places a high value on our
existing neighborhood schools with a
commitment to maintain and improve
them. This plan involves no school
closures, other than the retirement
of Larrabee Elementary School. The
plan does not include increasing the size
of all neighborhood elementary schools
to 450. While this is the design standard
for our new elementary schools, the size
of our schools is determined by many
factors, including enrollment, location,
property size, and the desired educational
and special programs at each school.
For example, Birchwood Elementary,
slated to reopen in fall 2014, will house
up to approximately 400 students with
two classrooms per grade level and space
for preschool. School communities and
neighbors are engaged in the design and
planning processes for new schools and
A Note About Larrabee: Larrabee’s
closure in June 2014 is not part of the
proposed bond, but resulted from the
plan developed by the Facilities Planning
Task Force after an extensive public input
process. Larrabee’s retirement as a
K-5 is not contingent upon this bond.
Staff are committed to working with the
Larrabee community to explore better
uses for the facility.
Above: Options High School