On Tuesday, November 27, Ridgefield School District’s board members voted in favor of putting a $77 million bond issue up for a vote on February 12, 2019. If approved by the voters, the bond proceeds, along with approximately $15 million of state assistance money, will enable the district to construct a new K-4 elementary school; expand Ridgefield High School and renovate the vocational education building; construct covered play areas and upgrade HVAC systems at South Ridge and Union Ridge elementary schools; and make safety and security upgrades district-wide.
“We’re able to maximize what this bond can do because it does not necessitate the purchase of land,” said school board member, Joseph Vance. “The proposed new K-4 elementary school will be built on property paid for by developers through the district’s collections of school impact fees.”
The comprehensive bond measure will replace temporary, less secure and inefficient portable classrooms with permanent classrooms. Included in the bond are the following projects:
- Reduce overcrowding by building a new K-4 elementary school
- Fully renovate and modernize the vocational education building at Ridgefield High School
- Expand Ridgefield High School by constructing new classroom wing
- Add covered play at all elementary schools
- Install new HVAC systems at elementary schools
- Enhance safety and security at all facilities in the district
The district’s Capital Facilities Advisory Committee (CFAC) developed the 2019 Bond Program. Made up of volunteers comprised of parents, citizens and staff from the Ridgefield community, the committee spent six months working to effectively address the community’s rapid growth. The collaboration between CFAC and the district provided the information needed to shape the design plans for Phase III of the district’s four-phase Capital Facilities Plan.
“The 2019 Bond Program is attributable in large part to the work of all the CFAC committee members,” said Superintendent Nathan McCann. “They started their work last winter and worked through the spring to prepare it. The program they crafted is fiscally responsible and addresses many of the district’s needs. We appreciate their hard work and the dedication of many people who participated in the process.”
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Ridgefield experienced 65% growth from 2010 to 2017, making it Washington’s fastest growing city. Over the next four years, Ridgefield School District is projecting a 45% increase in student enrollment, adding 1,422 new students by 2022.
Currently, the bond tax rate for Ridgefield is $4.34 per $1,000 of assessed property value, making it the fourth lowest tax rate of the county’s nine K-12 school districts. With voter approval, the school tax rate is projected to increase by $0.09 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. For the owner of a $300,000 home, that would mean an increase in property tax of $2.25 per month.