Voters will decide the outcome of a bond measure (Proposition 2) for Vancouver Public Schools in two weeks. Ballots were mailed to voters who live within the district’s boundaries on Friday, Jan. 27. The election is Tuesday, Feb. 14.
Ballots may be returned by mail (postmarked by Feb. 14), deposited in a drop box or at the Clark County Elections Office by 8 p.m. on Feb. 14 or dropped off at one of the ballot deposit locations available only on Election Day.
At least 26,996 people must cast votes either for or against the measure to validate the results of the election. That number is 40 percent of the total number of votes cast in the last general election.
In addition, a 60 percent supermajority–16,198 “yes” votes–is required to approve the bond measure.
If approved, the bond measure would allow Vancouver Public Schools to:
- Improve and upgrade every school in the district.
- Qualify for state assistance funds.
- Take advantage of 40-year historic low interest rates, saving taxpayers money.
- Remove portables and add permanent classrooms to relieve overcrowding and support smaller class sizes.
- Replace King, Marshall, Ogden, Truman and Walnut Grove elementary schools; McLoughlin Middle School; and Fir Grove/Vista. It also would relocate Lieser Campus to a remodeled Marshall school building.
- Partially remodel and/or enlarge Columbia River High School and stadium, Vancouver School of Arts and Academics and Sacajawea and Franklin elementary schools, and renovate Kiggins Bowl.
- Build two new elementary schools and a new, consolidated Vancouver iTech Preparatory.
- Construct safe, secure entrances at schools throughout the district.
- Upgrade roofs, flooring, windows and heating and cooling systems where needed.
- Add accessible surfaces for playgrounds.
- Modernize to support technology needs.
- Create spaces for family and community use.
The proposed $458 million bond measure is projected to increase temporarily the bond tax rate by $0.09 per $1,000 of assessed property value for three years.
When combined with the existing bonds, the bond rate is projected to be $1.52 per $1,000 of assessed value for tax collection years 2018–2020 and then drop to $1.35 per $1,000 of assessed value starting in 2021.
For the owner of a median-priced $225,000 home, the change in the VPS bond tax rate is approximately $20 per year for three years.
The three-year educational maintenance and operations levy, approved by voters in 2016, will cost $2.68 per $1,000 of assessed property value in 2018. The technology levy, approved by voters in 2013, will cost $0.23 per $1,000 of assessed property value in 2018. With approval of the bond, combined local school tax rates would be $4.43.
Vancouver Public Schools’ previous bond measure was approved by voters in 2001.