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Bond issue, school levy to go before Spokane Public Schools voters in February

Madison Elementary School would be replaced if voters approve Spokane Public Schools' February 2024 bond issue.
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Madison Elementary School would be replaced if voters approve Spokane Public Schools' February 2024 bond issue.

Voters in the Spokane School District will have two ballot measures to decide next February.

The school board on Wednesday night agreed to submit a three-year, nearly $300 million replacement levy to voters on February 13.

Cindy Coleman, the district’s business and finance officer, says the measure will represent 14% of the budget and supplement the basic funding supplied by the state.

“Everything from lower class sizes, advanced placement courses, special education, positions like counselors, nurses, librarians, school support staff, sports, clubs, all of our extracurricular type activities, curriculum materials, facility maintenance, technology. The laptops for the students will be in the levy this year,” she said.

Coleman says the district would collect $95 million in property tax in 2025, $99 million in 2026 and $103 million in 2027.

The board also approved a second ballot measure, a $200 million bond issue that would replace the expiring $500 million bond that voters approved in 2018.

The new bond would pay to build replacements Adams and Madison Elementary Schools. It would also fund the design process for replacements for Balboa and Indian Trail Elementary Schools. It would pay for upgrades at Chase and Garry Middle Schools and in the oldest part of North Central High School. It would fund the first phase of a new Community School, as well as improvements to the Libby Center and the district’s Montessori School. It would also pay for improvements to security, technology and infrastructure at a variety of other facilities.

District officials say the $200 million drawn from taxpayers would be supplemented by nearly $50 million from the 2018 bond issue and state matching money to fund about $290 million dollars in capital projects.

Superintendent Adam Swinyard says, if voters approve both measures, it would keep current school funding levels stable.

The board approved both measures by a 5-0 vote.

Doug Nadvornick has spent most of his 30+-year radio career at Spokane Public Radio and filled a variety of positions. He is currently the program director and news director. Through the years, he has also been the local Morning Edition and All Things Considered host (not at the same time). He served as the Inland Northwest correspondent for the Northwest News Network, based in Coeur d’Alene. He created the original program grid for KSFC. He has also served for several years as a board member for Public Media Journalists Association. During his years away from SPR, he worked at The Pacific Northwest Inlander, Washington State University in Spokane and KXLY Radio.