The Ridgefield School District will put forth another capital facilities bond nearly two years to the day after successfully asking voters for a similar funding push of close to the same amount.
The district announced Nov. 28 that its board of directors voted to put a $77 million bond on the Feb. 12 ballot. The funds would be used along with about $15 million in state assistance to construct a new elementary school, expand Ridgefield High School and construct covered play areas at the new and existing elementaries, among other projects.
The announcement notes that the property tax rate increase would be 9 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, which would be $36 more annually on a $400,000 home. Property taxes are anticipated to drop overall in 2019 as a new law regarding school funding will lead to a decrease in local maintenance and operation levies as a result of a new rate cap — Ridgefield’s levy would drop from $2.24 per $1,000 to the new cap of $1.50.
Ridgefield recently bought a $2.2-million, 27-acre property for the location of the elementary off of Northwest 279th Street, east of Clark County Fire and Rescue’s Northwest 65th Avenue station.
In the bond announcement, board member Joseph Vance noted that land was paid for through impact fees developers pay to the district — bond money wouldn’t be needed to find a place for the building.
Projects the bond will fund
•A new K-4 elementary school
•A full renovation and modernization the vocational education building at Ridgefield High School
•A new classroom wing at Ridgefield High School
•Covered play areas at all elementary schools
•New HVAC systems at elementary schools
•Safety and security enhancements at all facilities in the district
The 2019 bond was developed by a group of parents, citizens and district staff known as the Capital Facilities Advisory Committee, the announcement noted. It was the third iteration of the committee that has worked on two successful bonds previously — the most recent in February 2017 passed by close to 69 percent for an amount of $78 million.
Superintendent Nathan McCann explained that the committee started their work last winter and lauded their efforts, saying it addressed district needs in a fiscally responsible manner.
Backing up the need for more space the district announcement pointed to U.S. Census Bureau statistics showing 65-percent growth in the city of Ridgefield specifically from 2010 to 2017. The district includes area outside of city limits as well as the city itself.
The district is projecting 45 percent increased enrollment in the next four years.