$10 million school bond on the table this February

Sunnyside Schools Superintendent Dr. Rick Cole (left) and Director of Executive Services Curtis Campbell explain the finer points of the bond measure that will appear on the Feb. 11 Special Election ballot.

Photo by Jennie McGhan
Sunnyside Schools Superintendent Dr. Rick Cole (left) and Director of Executive Services Curtis Campbell explain the finer points of the bond measure that will appear on the Feb. 11 Special Election ballot.



The Sunnyside School District in February will be asking voters to approve a $10 million bond. If approved, Washington Elementary School will be rebuilt.

The current building was constructed in 1948, has sustained a fire and was last remodeled in 1983.

At yesterday’s Noon Rotary Club meeting Superintendent of Schools Dr. Rick Cole talked about the proposed bond.

He said Washington Elementary School is the last of the district’s eight schools slated for modernization or reconstruction in the current construction cycle.

Cole said the next school to be considered for construction or modernization will be Pioneer Elementary School in 2022. That is the year the current bonds will expire.

“Projections are that two high schools may be necessary by 2022,” he noted.

However, Washington Elementary is the district’s current concern. He said the school board opted for new construction of the school because it will cost $8 million less than a modernization of the current building.

The projected cost of a modernization project is more than $26.5 million, whereas a newly constructed building is projected at just more than $18 million.

Cole said Sunnyside voters, if the 20-year bond is approved, will not experience an increase in property taxes. Residents in the Sunnyside School District pay $1.80 per $1,000 assessed property value that is collected by the district.

Local property tax revenues would cover nearly $7 million of the construction project. Sunnyside would collect $11.5 million in levy equalization funds from the state, according to Cole.

Curtis Campbell, director of executive services for the school district, told Rotarians on Monday the bond, if approved, will also help pay for a parking lot expansion at Outlook Elementary School, as well as improved security at some of the district’s older buildings.

He said $1.3 million will also be set aside for an improved track facility.

“Sunnyside High School can’t currently host large track invitationals,” said Campbell, stating the surface is not safe for large events.

Cole said the district hasn’t yet decided the location of a new track because it must consider the location with the idea of a sports complex in mind.

“We have approximately $6 million in athletic facility needs,” he said. If the bond is approved this February, the money for the track and field facility will be set aside until a location for the new facility can be decided upon.

Cole noted that Sunnyside’s total bond obligation will be at $30 million, if this new bond is approved. However, that is less than half of its bond capacity, he said.

“We are a 4A (high) school…we are the 34th largest school (district) in the state,” he said.



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