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05-05-12: Community meetings set to discuss facility and technology needs
05-05-12: Community meetings set to discuss facility and technology needs

With an eye on a possible school bond or capital projects levy election, the school board has asked a committee to identify a list of pressing facility and technology needs that could be presented to voters as early as February 2013.

The school board unanimously agreed in March to commission the 17-member group known as the Bond Advisory Committee (BAC). Membership includes 10 community members, including a high school student, plus seven district educators.

As part of its work, the committee will hold a series of public meetings in May and June (see meeting dates and locations at the end of this article).

The community is encouraged to attend those meetings and give input on the most pressing facility and technology needs.

The BAC will consider the public feedback as it prepares a report for Superintendent Tony Apostle.

The report, due to Apostle in June, will include a list of recommended projects in advance of a possible bond or capital levy election.

In addition to public input, committee members will build on the work and recommendations contained in a comprehensive facilities and technology needs assessment submitted to the board in January.

Building new schools, adding classroom space to existing schools, updating technology, and purchasing land for future growth are among facility and technology needs the Citizens Facilities Advisory Committee recommends the district address over the next 12 years.

A copy of the committee’s 182-page report, including specific recommendations listed in three four-year planning periods, is on the district website.

The final decision about which projects to include in an election and if and when to present a ballot measure to voters rests with the school board.

In addition to examining the most urgent facility needs, BAC members will also study project costs, recommend a total amount of a bond and/or capital projects levy, determine the tax cost per thousand dollars of assessed valuation for a proposed bond and/or capital projects levy, and consider a timeline for completing the projects.

It has been eight years since Puyallup School District voters last approved a school bond. Voters narrowly rejected a bond measure twice in 2007, and again defeated a bond and capital levy package in 2009.

“Time is of the essence when trying to get caught up on facility needs,” said Rudy Fyles, executive director of education support and operations.

A school bond generally pays for long-term capital projects such as new school construction or major remodeling. State law requires at least 60 percent voter approval for a school bond to pass.

A capital levy often funds smaller, short-term projects including districtwide technology and maintenance projects. A levy requires a 50 percent voter approval for passage.
The BAC committee is chartered to meet through August 31 of this year.

Public forums

The community is invited to comment on facility and technology needs during Bond Advisory Committee feedback forums scheduled in May and June throughout the school district. The public forums will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on:

May 15

  • Ballou Junior High, 9916 136th St. E., Puyallup
  • Puyallup High, 105 Seventh St. S.W., Puyallup

May 22

  • Edgemont Junior High, 2300 110th Ave. E., Edgewood
  • Emerald Ridge High, 12405 184th St. E., Puyallup
  • Hunt Elementary, 12801 144th St. E., Puyallup

May 29

  • Fruitland Elementary, 1515 South Fruitland, Puyallup
  • Stahl Junior High, 9610 168th St. E., Puyallup

June 5

  • Shaw Road Elementary, 1106 Shaw Road, Puyallup
  • Sunrise Elementary, 2323 39th Ave. S.E., Puyallup

June 12

  • Rogers High, 12801 86th Ave. E., Puyallup
  • Waller Road Elementary, 6312 Waller Road, Tacoma