Our schools are overcrowded, this issue is not going away

On April 23, 2019, voters in the Lake Chelan School District (LCSD) will have the opportunity to approve a bond measure that will make important capital improvements in our schools. Our schools are overcrowded, and this issue is not going away. The District is currently debt free, and now is the time to invest in our future.

The District has proposed a $75 million bond, which will build a new high school by Mountain Goat Field, convert the existing Middle/High School to an Intermediate School for grades 4 – 8, and move Pre-K to Morgen Owings Elementary. It will also renovate iconic Sargent Field. Building a new high school and reconfiguring and modernizing our existing facilities is the right solution to the issue of overcrowding, and offers us an opportunity to create state-of-the-art learning facilities and consolidated athletic facilities.

In the last 25 years, enrollment at Chelan schools has dipped and spiked, but has generally trended upward. Since 1993 (the earliest OSPI archive data available and around the time the new high school was occupied) enrollment district-wide has increased by 193 students, with the population in the Middle/High School building increasing by 170 in that same timeframe.

This enrollment combined with a reduction in class sizes has caused our schools to become crowded. Space has been created for necessary classes to house more students by dividing classrooms or converting non-classroom spaces. Some grade levels are taught in outdated or temporary facilities. Our littlest learners, the Pre-K program, are housed in a basement. Programming offerings, particularly at the middle school, have been reduced to accommodate high school student access to the classrooms for those programs. Our athletic facilities are geographically spread out, outdated, and in some cases, not regulation size.

While these capital projects require community investment, when Chelan’s estimated tax rate is compared with that of regional school districts, and with districts state-wide with similar taxable property values, the LCSD is significantly lower. If the bond passes, the Cascade School District – which is similar in size, demographic makeup, and property value – will still have a higher estimated tax rate than the LCSD.

The best solution to the overcrowding in our schools is to build a new high school and modernize all of our existing facilities. Our District is debt free, and now is the time to invest in our kids! On April 23, Vote YES for bond 201901, and Vote YES for our future!

For more information, visit www.smalltownbigfuture.org

Chris Baker
Chelan
Chair for the
Citizens committee for the
Lake Chelan School
Bond proposal
 

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