Frequently Asked Questions

Questions and Answers about the Levies and Bond 2020

Wouldn't it be cheaper just to remodel Post Middle School?
Remodeling in this situation is not cost effective. Once 40% or more of the building is remodeled, it triggers code compliance for all the other systems in the building. For Post Middle School, the biggest expense would be involved in meeting the seismic code that was not in place when the building was constructed in 1981. Other code requirements that would have to be met include energy, lighting, and HVAC. The cost of becoming code compliant alone would be 75% of the cost of a new building and we would still be left with a building that could not be secured as well as a building with a single point of entry system and interior hallways.

Doesn't the state already give funding for school district safety and security?
The district does receive money for safety and security from the state. In 2018-19, that amount totaled $46,784. The direct costs associated with security at the district in 2018-19 were:

1) School Resource Officer contract with City of Arlington, $81,000;
2) Campus monitor at the high school, $36,036;
3) Office staff dedicated to vetting and recording visitors, $72,072;
4) Software licenses for visitor and volunteer management (performs instant background checks against the Washington State Patrol criminal history database and the National Sex Offender Database, records presence of visitors in buildings, prints visitor badges), $12,000;
5) Intruder detection and alarm services, $54,000.

These are ongoing direct costs for security alone and total $255,108.

Given the amount of funding provided by the state for security is only $46,784, the local levy provides for $208,324 for ongoing costs. This doesn't take into account the one time costs associated with equipment. For example, in 2019, the district replaced and added handheld radios used in both security and emergency management for a cost of $32,000.

The security improvements that would be provided by the proposed Capital Levy would not be funded by the state in any capacity unless they offered a grant, which they have not done in recent years done. Around 21% of the Capital Levy provides for improvements to security.

The project list is here; each project is marked with its intended purpose.

How are the 2020 levies/bond different from the Transportation Vehicle Fund levies that were proposed in 2014 and 2015?

The district proposed Transportation Vehicle Fund Levies in 2014 and 2015 (not bonds). It did issue a non-voted bond in 2018 to purchase school buses. Non-voted bonds are allowed by state law as long as there exists a repayment source for the bond. When a school buys school buses, the state repays them for the purchase over a 13 year period. This is what's being used to pay for the non-voted bond.

Can you please provide the cost of what the bond will cost?
The total project cost for the Post Middle School rebuild is $83 million. $11.5 million of this cost is funded by state matching funds provided by the State of Washington. The balance, $71.5 million, is funded by a bond issue. The bond is estimated to cost $0.64 per $1,000 of assessed valuation in years 2021 through 2024 and $0.90 per $1,000 assessed value in years 2025-2040.

What would the new Post Middle School look like?
The project includes two components:

1. A new Post Middle School of approximately 120,000 square feet. The building would include more classrooms capable of supporting science, technology, engineering and math classes, as well as special education classrooms, a band room, gymnasium, library, cafeteria/commons, and office area. The new building would have interior hallways so students could move between classes without going outside. The building would also have a single point of entry, so all visitors would have to enter the hallway through a secure entry (the current building has no interior hallways and all classrooms are entered through exterior doors; there is no way to control access to the building).

Current Post Middle School
The current Post Middle School

The new Post would be two stories to save on construction costs and would have access to utilities planned so that an additional instructional wing could be added at some point in the future when enrollment growth calls for new classrooms.

Future Post Middle School
Conceptual design of new Post Middle School (final design will be based on community input)

2. The project includes redevelopment of the site. The primary reason for site redevelopment is to improve pedestrian and traffic safety for the entire campus which includes Post, Eagle Creek Elementary, and Stillaguamish Valley Learning Center. A bus loop would be added to separate bus traffic from car traffic and reconfigured pedestrian walking paths would improve safety for students walking to school.

Eagle Creek and Kent Prairie need extra classrooms too. What is the plan for overcrowding at the elementary level?

Enrollment forecasts for elementary grades indicate a leveling of growth at these schools. We added portable classrooms at Kent Prairie and moved the APPLE program out of Eagle Creek to provide additional space for these schools.

Does APS get any of the money from increase in property taxes due to the McCleary Decision?
Yes, the district does get additional money from the state due to the implementation of McCleary. However, it is not enough to continue providing the same level of service to students and the community before McCleary. The cost of providing the same level of service is approximately $9 million per year more than what is provided by the state of Washington. These services include teachers, school nurses, counselors, and psychologists.

While the state share of property tax devoted to school support increased by $0.90 per $1,000 of assessed value, the district was forced to reduce its local operating levy (the EP&O levy) by $1.81 per $1,000. The result: the district has to ask the local community to continue providing EP&O levy funding to maintain services to students.

Would the new Post Middle School be built on the same site as the existing school?
The new Post would not be built on the track area. It would be built on the space just to the east of the current Post building that is currently used for youth football.

Post Middle School Campus

What’s happening with the site on Highway 530 that the district purchased in 1996 for $3 million? I know this land was originally purchased so a new high school could be built there but due to the Growth Management Act, this is no longer possible.
The district reached an agreement with Miles Sand and Gravel to sell the Hwy 530 site to them. The agreed upon price was $3 million, which is what the district paid for the site in 1996. You can read more about the sale here.

I read recently about schools receiving money from the lease of property that Bartell Drugs in Arlington sits on. What’s that all about?
The article is referring to a Washington State program called the School Construction Assistance Program (SCAP). The program provides funding for school construction based on a number of factors. Arlington is eligible for approximately $11.5 million in SCAP funding for the replacement of Post Middle School as proposed in Proposition 3 on the ballot in February 2020. The project is estimated to cost $83 million total; the bond request is for $71.5 million, with the balance funded by SCAP resources. District staff have worked with the state's Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) to secure this funding for Arlington but cannot access it without first passing a bond.

You can read the article about the Bartell Drugs property here.