February 18, 2002
School district coffers replenished for another four years
by Jeanette Knutson
Voters within the Northshore School District affirmed in their Feb. 5 votes that it is, indeed, a great time to make a commitment to the future. If school officials feared the sour economy would prevent a positive outcome for their levies and bond issues, their fears were unfounded. In fact, voters came out to pass all three school measures - with convincing numbers.
Of course, the measures were written in such a way as to have no impact on taxes. The total cost to taxpayers in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 is estimated at $5.17 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. This $5.17 sum is less than the $5.98 rate voters approved in the 1994, 1996 and 1998 elections.
Supporters say the $132 million maintenance and operations levy, the $14 million technology levy and the $98 million dollar capital projects bond were critically needed to supplement programs and services that the state does not fully fund. The monies will be used for items such as teaching and instructional support, facilities and operations support, transportation, technology upgrades and the modernization of five district schools: Cottage Lake Elementary, Canyon Park Junior High, Bothell High, Northshore Junior High and Lockwood Elementary.
Northshore School District Superintendent Dr. Karen Forys said of the district's triple success, "We are tremendously grateful for the continuing support of our community. An investment in the future of students is bound to pay big dividends. The passage of these measures is a win for everyone."
Said Pamela Steele, district spokeswoman, "I am thrilled and relieved (at the passage of the measures). I continue to be impressed by the support we receive from this community. It's clear they understand the relationship between today's educational services and tomorrow's economic health."
Karen Orsinger and Janice Bogusz are co-chairs of Citizens for Northshore Schools, a 20-member group of local citizens committed to the school district and determined to the pass the school measures. Orsinger said, "Our Northshore community is a strong, supportive one and I believe that is evident by the large percentage of "yes" votes each of the measures received. The "yes" percentages exceeded those of the 1998 levy/bond election on each measure."
Citizens for Northshore Schools - along with many others - contributed hours of work on behalf of the bond/levy campaign. The group's speakers' bureau organized over 30 presentations to groups ranging from PTA members and Kiwanians to senior citizens and Rotarians, said Orsinger.
Supporters even orchestrated a phone-bank effort the last few days before the election.
"The Spiegel Group very graciously let us use their Bothell call center for our phone bank," said Orsinger. "Around 250 volunteers, including staff members, parents and students, called registered voters over three nights ... and made approximately 18,000 phone calls reminding people to vote."
Another large focus of the Citizens group was to get high school seniors and parents registered to vote.
The district also got a psychological boost from the cities of Kenmore, Bothell and Woodinville. Each passed a resolution in support of the levy/bond issues.
"We are very appreciative ... ," said Orsinger. "This is the first levy/bond election that we received official support from the cities."
With the election behind them, volunteer workers are not necessarily exhausted, she said. But, like spokeswoman Steele, Orsinger said they are happy and relieved ... relieved that they don't have to go back to the voters again for another four years.
Northshore School District
Proposition No. 1 (Maintenance and Operations)
Approved 9,931 71.21%
Rejected 4,015 28.79%
Proposition No. 2 (Technology)
Approved 9,349 69.95%
Rejected 4,016 30.05%
Proposition No. 3 (Capital Projects Bond)
Approved 8,865 66.24%
Rejected 4,518 33.76%