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Marysville schools pursuing $230M bond measure

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MARYSVILLE — The Marysville School District board of directors plans to put a $230 million bond measure on the April 26 special election ballot.
If approved by voters, the measure would fund total replacement of three schools, the relocation of Totem Middle School, the modernization of Marysville Pilchuck High School, and the construction of a fifth middle school in the district.
The bond measure was presented to the school board Friday and will be on the agenda for action Tuesday.
The last time the district approved a bond was in 2006.
“I would say that the chance of it being proposed by the board is a good possibility,” said board president Pete Lundberg.
The bond measure will require a 60 percent supermajority voting in favor in order to pass. It would raise the property tax burden of district property owners by $1.25 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, or $262.50 for an average $210,000 house in Marysville.
The total tax burden in the district would rise from $6.02 to an estimated $7.27 per $1,000 next year. The actual rate may vary with fluctuations in property values, but the net amount the bond would raise is fixed.
The bond package was developed by a Citizens Advisory Committee that included about 40 parents, staff and residents from the district.
Lundberg said the top priority for the board was to honor the committee's recommendation.
“We know that if the community doesn't support the measure, then we don't have much of a chance of being successful,” he said. “But if the community feels they've been involved in the process, there likely will be a much more positive outcome.”
The three schools identified for replacement are Liberty Elementary, Cascade Elementary and Marysville Middle School, which were built in 1951, 1955 and 1960, respectively.
Totem Middle School would move into the building currently occupied by the Arts & Technology High School in Tulalip, which in turn would be moved to Marysville Pilchuck High School.
The new Totem Middle, which currently has 579 students, would serve students living west of I-5, with those east of the freeway being spread among the other middle schools, including the fifth middle school.
The Marysville School District has a total-choice high school system rather than the feeder school model used in most other districts, so the redistricting at the middle school level won't directly affect the high school populations, superintendent Becky Berg said.
That redistricting move also would alleviate crowding in those other middle schools, she said. She noted that Cedarcrest Middle has 894 students and Marysville Middle has 892.
“We believe we can bring those numbers down substantially with this plan,” Berg said.
In addition, the expansion of classroom space throughout the district will reduce if not eliminate the use of many portable classrooms, Berg said. The five existing schools slated to get the extreme makeover treatment have 23 portables among them.
At Marysville Pilchuck, the bond money would pay for new classrooms and modernization of the existing auditorium, gymnasium and pool.
The cafeteria that was the site of the 2014 shootings will be replaced, but that is being funded by a special legislative appropriation. Berg said construction of a new cafeteria is scheduled to start this spring.
Chris Winters: 425-374-4165; cwinters@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @Chris_At_Herald.

School board meeting
The Marysville School District board of directors meets at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Board Room of the Marysville School District Service Center, 4220 80th Street NE, Marysville.
Story tags » Marysville School DistrictLocal elections

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