Clarkston presents proposed High School improvements | News
One of the focuses of a proposed Capital Improvements Bond that patrons of the Clarkston School District will be asked to pass on February 11th is school security at Clarkston High School. Superintendent Darcy Weisner spoke to reporters this afternoon to go over the proposed bond, which totals $38 million. Weisner says upgrading the high school would bring it into compliance with new Washington State legislation.
Senate Bill 5197 was passed during the 2013 regular session. It requires that school districts implement a panic alarm system by December 1, 2014 and school boards of directors must strongly consider installing a perimeter security control mechanism or system on all school campuses.
Weisner says by updating the high school, there would be a single point of entry, a buzz-in door, cameras throughout the campus, and the school would have the ability to go into an immediate lockdown if there was a security incident that required it. While the school has never had a major security issue, Weisner says there have been incidents in the past that would have been prevented had the security measures been in place.
Voters must approve the $38 million bond in order for the school district to receive state matching dollars of $9.8 million. The approximate bond rate is $1.83 per $1000 of assessed valuation. It would be collected over a 25-year period. The current bond rate is $1.14. Taxpayers would begin seeing the flat 69-cent increase on their 2015 taxes.
Also in February, voters will be asked to approve a four-year $4.8 million Maintenance and Operations levy. It is not an additional tax, but replaces the current M&O levy that Clarkston voters approved in February 2010.
If approved by the voters, the four-year M&O replacement levy dollars will be collected from 2015 to 2018, with funds used to support essential programs, staff, and operating expenses that are unfunded or under-funded by state and federal revenue. These include Art, Music and PE; Teacher training; Technology; Athletics and activities; and Maintenance, supplies, and operating costs, (such as utilities, instructional materials, roof and HVAC maintenance, security, and bus transportation).
The current four-year Clarkston M&O levy rate is $3.78 and will be paid off by the district in December 2014. The proposed replacement levy rate is estimated at $3.96 and is expected to drop during each collection year. Therefore, while the proposed levy rate is an 18% increase for voters, this rate is expected to drop as low as $3.73 during the four-year collection time - resulting in a 5-cent decrease from what tax payers are currently paying.
Weisner is planning multiple community presentations and opportunities for pubic input in the future. A Clarkston levy web page can be found on the district website at www.csdk12.org . The public is encouraged to visit this web page for facts, questions and answers, and other resources to provide the community with information to make an informed decision come February.