Source: Vancouver Public Schools, Communications department. (2017, February 15). VPS bond passes with overwhelming support. [Press release]. Retrieved from http://www.flashalert.net/id/VancouverSchDist
The Vancouver community showed its support for schools on Tuesday, Feb. 14. The $458 million bond measure is currently passing with nearly 70 percent approval.
Voters overwhelmingly approved the capital construction bond measure for Vancouver Public Schools with 69.74 percent (updated 2/16/17). Validation of the measure came a day after the election. An updated ballot count provided the required 27,000 votes to validate the measure. VPS has received a total of 28,660 votes, 19,969 of which were “yes” votes. The election results will be certified on Feb. 24.
Said Superintendent Steve Webb, “I want to thank our community members for their continued support of children and schools here in Vancouver. These overwhelming results indicate just how much our public schools matter to this community.”
“On behalf of the school board, I want to thank the thousands of volunteers who donated their time and resources to support the bond,” said Board President Dale Rice. “It’s an honor to be part of the proud Vancouver tradition for passing school funding measures. This extraordinary result is another testament of the ongoing commitment to our young people and the future of our community.”
What the $458 million bond will accomplish:
- Rebuild seven aging schools: King, Marshall, Ogden, Truman and Walnut Grove elementary schools; Fir Grove/Vista; and McLoughlin Middle School; and relocate Lieser Campus to a renovated Marshall Elementary
- Build two new elementary schools to alleviate overcrowding
- Construct a larger, permanent school for Vancouver iTech Preparatory
- Remodel and enlarge Sacajawea and Franklin elementary schools; Vancouver School of Arts and Academics; and Columbia River High School
- Enhance safety and security measures at all sites
- Accommodate smaller class sizes for kindergarten through third grade and eliminate approximately 60 portable classrooms throughout the district
- Upgrade heating and cooling systems and improve energy efficiency
- Upgrade roofs, flooring, windows where needed
- Add accessible surfaces for playgrounds
- Create spaces in schools for family engagement and community use
- Restore Kiggins Bowl stadium
The estimated cost of the entire bond program, which includes improvements to every school in the district, is $562.8 million. This total cost is offset by other revenue sources including a $43 million class-size reduction grant from the state, local impact fees estimated at $12 million and state assistance funds estimated at $50 million.
The last bond measure in VPS was passed by voters 16 years ago in 2001 with 63.3 percent “yes” votes. That $87.7 million bond helped pay to replace Eisenhower, Franklin, Hazel Dell, Salmon Creek, Sarah J. Anderson and Washington elementary schools, and build Thomas Jefferson Middle School.
The construction schedule prioritizes eligibility for state assistance funding and completing projects on time and within budget. The scope of the ambitious timeline is anticipated to be six years, from spring 2017 to 2022, barring any unforeseen circumstances.
Work will begin right away on designing and permitting for the replacement Marshall Elementary School and McLoughlin Middle School, and a permanent building for Vancouver iTech Preparatory to be located on the Washington State University Vancouver campus. Upgrades and enhancements at 25 district schools will begin this spring and continue over the course of the six-year timeline.
“In 2013, our community asked us to address our facility needs to ensure our students had access to future-ready environments,” said Webb. “Over the past two years, we’ve engaged hundreds of stakeholders in shaping this ballot measure. I’m excited about this work. Public education is vital to good communities, and Vancouver is among the very best. I am grateful to be part of a community that values its schools and reaffirms its commitment in so many ways.”
Follow construction progress at: vansd.org/reschools