Marysville puts levy on Feb. ballot; talks high school boundaries

MARYSVILLE – The school board decided Monday to try to pass a levy in February that would replace Liberty and Cascade elementary schools and make district-wide safety and other capital improvements.

The $120 million six-year levy would cost about $1.93 per $1,000 valuation, or about $579 a year on a $300,000 home. The state would pitch in $13.5 million.

The district chose a levy, rather than a bond like the $230 million one defeated three years ago, because it takes a majority rather than a 60 percent supermajority to pass.

The goal of the district is to jumpstart a cycle of continuous improvement to rebuild facilities with the highest needs.

Because there is no such cycle of replacement, “It puts us in a really tough place,” superintendent Jason Thompson said Tuesday.

He added that inconsistent leadership and a lack of trust were reasons schools weren’t replaced when they should have been.

Thompson said the two new schools won’t be fancy.

“They won’t be extravagant like some I’ve seen across the state,” he said, adding the district will be good stewards of taxpayer money.

“But they will be nice schools designed the right way.”

The two schools each will be about 70,000 square feet and cost $49.52 million each. However, by going the levy route the money will come in more slowly and because of rising costs each year in construction Liberty will end up costing $58.43 million and Cascade $67.35 million.

Six years from now, the district hopes to have earned the public’s trust so it can pass bonds to replace other schools, keeping the price per $1,000 at the same level.

“It’s the only way we can do it,” Thompson said, adding, “Down the road we’ll try to get a more-reasonable rate.”

For details on the levy, contact Mike Sullivan, executive director of Finance and Operations, at mike_sullivan@msd25.org or 360-965-0094, or visit the Marysville School District website at www.msd25.org/capital-levy-2020

Boundary committee

In the work session, the board also had a long discussion about the Boundary Committee’s work regarding Marysville-Pilchuck and Marysville Getchell high schools.

Assistant superintendent Scott Beebe said the 20-member committee has been looking at a number of options.

Looking at maps, members connected the 10 grade schools to the two high schools. They then connected them to the three middle schools, which was harder because they are so close together. They then looked at the demographics of the schools if the boundary was set up that way. They also looked at boundaries for the grade schools, some of which “didn’t make sense,” Beebe said. However, “We can’t make a change without a domino effect.”

Those ideas were tossed out because the school board had directed the committee to keep neighborhoods intact as much as possible.

They also looked at making MG a school for eighth- and ninth-graders and M-P for 10th- to 12th-graders.

That idea also was tossed.

“That perpetuates busing all over the place,” Beebe said, which was one of the reasons for going to a boundary rather than choice in the first place. Other reasons were staffing at the small MG school was expensive. Also, it would end reports of schools recruiting for athletics.

Speaking of sports, it was mentioned that with district boundaries M-P could drop to a 2A school, while MG would remain 3A.

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