Wash. legislature must lower hurdle for passing school bonds

December 5, 2018

The Bethel School District’s failure to pass its fourth school construction bond in three years illustrates why the state Legislature needs to scrap the requirement that school construction bonds win at least 60 percent of the vote. This unreasonably high bar for passing school bonds dooms many important projects to failure.

or years, students in the Bethel School District have spilled out of school buildings and jammed into nearby portable classrooms. About 200 portables now house a quarter of the district’s student population, or about 5,500 kids.

Yet in November, the Pierce County district’s latest attempt to pass a school-construction bond failed once again — this time by the thinnest of margins, with support coming in at 59.22 percent.

Bethel’s failure to pass its fourth school construction bond in three years illustrates why the state Legislature needs to scrap the requirement that school construction bonds win at least 60 percent of the vote. This unreasonably high bar for passing school bonds dooms many important projects to failure, contributing to overflowing classrooms and schools in disrepair. This in turn affects the quality of education in dozens of districts across the state, as children can’t do their best learning inside crumbling, unsafe buildings, or when they’re packed in like sardines.