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Posted on Jan 20, 2016

Rising assessments drive proposed bond rate

Who will pay for the Quincy school bond, if the $108 million measure passes next month?
The easy answer is, everyone who owns property within the boundaries of the Quincy School District.
Broken down, citizens, farmers and other businesses would cover 66 percent of the cost while data centers in Quincy would provide 26 percent of the funding and an 8 percent match would come from the state, according to figures from the school district.
Ballots will be mailed Jan. 21 to registered voters in the district. They must be returned by election day, Feb. 9.
Port of Quincy Commissioner Curt Morris is among local residents supporting the bond.
“Absolutely,” he said. “You can drive around and look at the growth.”

Voters in the Quincy School District are being asked to pass a $108 million bond that will pay for upgrades at all the district's schools. The bond includes $80.4 million to build a new high school, alleviating overcrowding there.  Photo by Kurtis J. Wood.

Voters in the Quincy School District are being asked to pass a $108 million bond that will pay for upgrades at all the district’s schools. The bond includes $80.4 million to build a new high school, alleviating overcrowding there. Photo by Kurtis J. Wood.

The bond would provide new or upgraded facilities at every school in the district, including construction of a new high school. Morris emphasizes that it is a better deal than the $20 million bond that passed in 1998.
That measure cost taxpayers $2.10 per $1,000 of assessed property value. But this year’s bond would cost $1.89 per $1,000 valuation because the value of property in the school district has increased so much in recent years.
The district was assessed at $618 million in 1998. Now the value is $3.1 billion.
“The reality is, if it passes it won’t get assessed until 2017,” Morris said. “The assessment will be based on our evaluation then. The things being built in Quincy today have not been included in that $1.89. We know it will be less.”
Quincy potato farmer Larry Schaapman, who is also a Grant PUD commissioner, has heard positive comments in the community about the proposed bond.
“The circles I run in, people see the need and are very favorable toward it,” he said, adding that land for a new high school is already owned by the district. “The district invested in some land a few years ago before land got so crazily priced.”
Quincy School District Superintendent John Boyd says an informational campaign will begin soon to give people facts about the bond. During Tuesday’s school board meeting, he discussed a video project that is about to be unveiled.
The district is spending $3,000 for a professional videographer from Seattle to produce two one-minute videos that provide an overall view of the bond. There also will be five to 10 15-second videos designed to keep people thinking about the bond as election day nears.
Boyd said the videos will be posted on the district’s website and a new district Facebook page that could be live as soon as Friday. He hopes people will share the videos with other voters via YouTube and other social media outlets.
The videos will include filming at school locations, and will have interviews with faculty members and students. It is being produced by Eugene Sarigumba of Seattle.
“It’s only one of the strategies we’re using to make sure people are informed,” Boyd said.
School board chairman Alex Ybarra emphasized that the bond proposal has been in the works for up to eight years.
“It has been a long process that has led us to this point,” Boyd said, citing a number of committees that have met over the years to discuss facility needs.
He added that district employees won’t be advocating a yes vote. Instead, the district’s push will be fact-based.
“It’s not a campaign for it,” Boyd said. “It’s strictly informational. We have a responsibility to make sure people are informed.”
On Tuesday, Boyd will be at George Elementary School for a community meeting about the bond from 6 to 7:30 p.m. A similar session will 6 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at The Bus Stop, 23758 Crescent Bay Drive N.W. in Crescent Bar.

 

— By Steve Kadel, sports@qvpr.com

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