Frequently Asked Questions


Whose decision is it to propose a bond issue?

The Clover Park School District Board of Directors, at their regular meeting on Oct. 26, 2009 unanimously approved a resolution to put the bond proposal before voters on Feb. 9, 2010.

The school board made its decision, based on a study completed by a 20-member Facility Advisory Committee (FAC). The FAC membership included local citizens from across the district and representatives from schools, the city, military and industry experts like architects and engineers. This committee has had an ongoing function dating back to 2001, when it first assisted in the preparation of a Facilities Plan. In October of 2004, the committee was reconvened to set forth an approach to establish a capital plan that would be acceptable to the supermajority of voters in the district. The success of the 2006 bond program was established on the strength of partnerships and relationships to benefit children. The result is a new Lakeview Hope Academy and a new Lakes High School (currently under construction).

What is the Facilities Advisory Committee (FAC)?

The FAC is a citizen advisory committee that provides short and long-range recommendations for facility improvements and the capital bond issues needed to support them.

Why is it necessary to have a FAC?

Clover Park School District has 1.7 million square feet of school space, with an average building age of 47 years, and 400 acres of land to manage. As good stewards of those resources, the district charges the FAC with convening experts and citizens to review these assets and align educational program requirements with facilities conditions and demographic trends.

What are the recommendations?

After more than a year of study, the FAC presented its recommendations for school facility improvements to the Clover Park School District Board of Directors on May 26. Specifically, the FAC asked the board to consider the following projects for a potential bond proposition in February 2010:

• Rebuild Hudtloff Middle School at its current location and improve its athletic fields for student and community use;

• Build a new elementary school for the consolidated Oakwood and Southgate Elementary Schools, at a location to be determined; and

• Build a new Harrison Preparatory School in partnership with Clover Park Technical College (CPTC).

What were the criteria used in developing the recommendations?

The primary considerations the FAC used in developing the facilities plan were:

• Educational program;

• Demographics;

• Military Base/Post activities;

• Facilities;

• City/School District visioning;

• Economy/ maintain level tax rate concept;

• Partnership opportunities; and

• School consolidation and closure issues.

How can I learn more?

The FAC report is available on Clover Park School District’s Web page at www.cloverpark.k12.wa.us

Oakwood/Southgate Elementary School Proposal

Why rebuild a consolidated Oakwood and Southgate Elementary School?

Southgate is 53 years old. Foundation systems are cracked and show signs of damage. The school’s infrastructures are also outdated. Although a classroom addition was completed in 1992, due to the overall age and condition of the school, Southgate is a costly and constant maintenance challenge. Southgate also backs up to railroad tracks, which will be utilized by commuter trains and possibly passenger and freight trains. The increased use of the railroad tracks may cause additional safety and noise issues.

Oakwood Elementary is 45 years old and is located in the McChord flight zone. The school cannot be reconstructed at its current site. The consolidated Oakwood and Southgate Elementary would be rebuilt on a site to be determined. The savings resulting from the consolidation of the schools can be put back into educational programs.

Will the consolidation of an existing school save money?

Yes, the consolidation of Oakwood and Southgate will save approximately $300,000 annually that can be put directly back into classrooms.

How many elementary schools do you currently have and how will attendance boundaries be affected if Oakwood and Southgate are consolidated?

Currently, CPSD operates 17 elementary schools. With the possible consolidation of Oakwood and Southgate, there may be some population shifts or boundary changes that may occur and have an impact on other district elementary schools. Any potential boundary changes would not happen until the new school is built and will depend on enrollment and demographic developments that occur during construction of the school.

How will this impact the Clover Park Rotary’s efforts at Southgate?

We are eager to continue our strong partnership with Clover Park Rotary and hope to work together throughout and after this process.

Hudtloff Middle School Proposal

Why rebuild Hudtloff Middle School?

Hudtloff Middle School is 52 years old and is very costly to maintain and energy inefficient. The school’s electrical and mechanical systems are outdated. The school would be reconstructed at its current site and athletic fields would be improved for school and community use. When rebuilt, the school’s educational program needs will be addressed (i.e., wiring for technology and science labs).

What is your plan for Custer since they’re on the same grounds?

According to the FAC report, Custer will be considered for reconstruction in 2014 and during the design phase of Hudtloff, Custer Elementary will be considered in the overall master plan.

Harrison Preparatory School Proposal

Why develop a Harrison Preparatory School?

The FAC recommendation for building a Harrison Preparatory School, in partnership with Clover Park Technical College (CPTC), entails a 6th through 12th grade school of roughly 800 students focused on high academic rigor, innovation and accountability.

The new school would feature an International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program with very specific requirements for those who are involved such as student behavior, dress code and discipline contracts; parental involvement contracts; and accountability measures for students, teachers and administrators.

Its main focus would be rigorous academics to prepare graduates to be both college and career ready. It would not offer co-curricular/extra-curricular arts or athletic programs, but arts and physical education would be part of the curriculum, per state requirements.

This school should retain more students who reside within the district boundaries and attract families to the community.

The school would be located adjacent to CPTC, which would allow students to take elective classes such as robotics. Furthermore, the partnership would also involve sharing property, facilities and resources with the goal of reducing taxpayer’s costs while achieving maximum community benefit.

There would be an advisory committee that would help distinguish this school from others, in that the advisory committee would provide input into the following:

(1) Program design and school structure;

(2) Establishment/review/revision of enrollment agreements, including academic performance expectations, attendance, dress codes, behavior, etc.;

(3) Input on the mission of the school and the format for evaluating its successes and challenges; and

(4) Define supports and incentives for bright but economically-disadvantaged students including a robust mentorship program.

The committee would report outcomes and recommendations to the CPSD Board of Directors to ensure success and further build community trust and support.

Would there be a savings associated with the consolidation of AI?

Yes, the consolidation of AI will save approximately $350,000 annually in funds that will be put directly back into the classroom.

Would this compete with the Bethel Skills Center?

No. For decades our local partner, Clover Park Technical College, has provided successful career and technical education programs for our community.

Do you think you’ll get interest from outside of the district?

Yes. Based on what district officials heard in community engagement sessions conducted over the summer of 2009, we believe the Harrison Preparatory School will not only retain, but attract students who may have had interest in programs and schools outside the district.

Would we lose the partnership opportunity with CPTC if we wait until 2014?

Possibly, but more importantly, our students would miss out on tremendous, innovative opportunities to prepare them for their lives after high school.

Would you be doing Running Start with CPTC?

Yes, just as we do now with CPTC, Pierce College and many others.

When students currently leave the district, where are they going?

Research from the 2008-09 school year indicated that some students requesting waivers for educational reasons are pursuing online learning programs. Some are moving to neighboring school districts and specialized programs (i.e., School of the Arts). Others are interested in early diploma programs (Running Start) and some move to other districts across the state or don’t indicate where they plan to attend.

How would this impact sports / athletic teams?

The current Harrison Prep model for athletics and extracurricular activities will be continued. Students who wish to participate in after school activities must go to “home” or neighborhood schools (WIAA Rules). The IB program will be an integral part of Harrison Prep. As students and their families consider Harrison Prep and the academic rigor and requirements of IB, participation in athletics and extracurricular activities should be considered in advance.

IB programs have been around for decades, why now?

The school board and district officials have listened to what community members and business leaders have said regarding the need for more academic rigor. The district is strengthening the rigor and academic opportunities for students and we believe, along with the community, now is the time.

Will you keep the Advanced Placement (AP) courses?

Yes, AP courses will continue to be offered at Clover Park and Lakes High Schools.

How will the IB program increase student achievement?

The IB Diploma Program is very rigorous and academically strong. The expectations embedded in the program for students as well as staff are very high and challenging.

Do teachers and administrators need some sort of IB certification?

Schools must apply to be part of the IB program. Teachers receive formal training and once the school has been accepted, teachers and school administrators receive ongoing training.

Do you have plans to involve parents?

Definitely. There would be an advisory committee that would help distinguish this school from others, in that the advisory committee would provide input into the following:

(1) Program design and school structure;

(2) Establishment/review/revision of enrollment agreements, including academic performance expectations, attendance, dress codes, behavior, etc.;

(3) Input on the mission of the school and the format for evaluating its successes and challenges; and

(4) Define supports and incentives for bright but economically-disadvantaged students including a robust mentorship program.

The committee would report outcomes and recommendations to the CPSD Board of Directors to ensure success and further build community trust and support.

Financing

How much will the bond projects cost?

FAC representatives stressed that these projects would continue the district’s current capital improvement program by maintaining a level total tax rate over the life of the bond. The recommendations, totaling $92 million, allow the district to maintain the 2010 tax rate.

Are my taxes going to increase?

These recommendations can be achieved by continuing the current tax rate as of 2010 over the life of the bond. The factor having the greatest impact upon taxes, as it relates to this proposal, is the economic health of our community as a whole. As our community continues to economically redevelop, it is anticipated that this will provide sustainable growth for the foreseeable future.

Does it replace an already existing bond or is this a new tax?

This bond proposition continues the existing capital improvement program that was approved by voters in 2006.

What is the difference between a school construction bond and an educational programs and operations levy?

Think “B” for buildings and bonds! School construction bonds pay for major new construction and/or major renovation of existing facilities. A school construction bond pays for districtwide safety and security measures and big projects like major school renovations. Once approved by voters, school construction bonds may be sold to provide an immediate cash flow to begin a project.

Educational programs and operations levies fund the difference between what the state gives school districts and daily school needs. Examples of levy spending are: reductions to class size, educational programs, textbooks and other instructional materials, teacher staff development, student transportation and food services.

How will a school construction bond benefit schools?

When the proposition is approved, two elementary schools needing significant upgrades will be consolidated and will save taxpayers about $300,000 that can be put back into classrooms.

A middle school with extremely outdated internal systems will be rebuilt. Right now, the district is paying more than $50,000 annually just to keep Hudtloff’s antiquated electrical and heating systems operating.

In the case of the Harrison Preparatory School, by building a new facility, the district and local taxpayers have an opportunity to save approximately $50,000 annually in maintenance and utility costs that can be redirected to the classroom.

With passage of the bond proposition, the school district will be eligible to receive approximately $24 million from the state in “matching funds.” The $24 million will be used as follows:

• $10 million to assist with the construction of the new Hudtloff Middle School;

• $7 million to assist with consolidation and building of a new Oakwood/Southgate Elementary School; and

• $7 million to construct the new Harrison Preparatory School in partnership with Clover Park Technical College.

How much is the bond proposition?

$92 million.

What projects will be completed?

The school construction bond will allow the school district to:

• Rebuild Hudtloff Middle School at its current location and improve its athletic fields for student and community use;

• Build a new elementary school for the consolidated Oakwood and Southgate Elementary Schools, at a location to be determined; and

• Build a new Harrison Preparatory School in partnership with Clover Park Technical College (CPTC).

When will voters have the opportunity to vote on the bond proposition?

In the resolution Clover Park School District Board of Directors approved on Oct. 26, 2009 the bond proposition will be on the Feb. 9, 2010 ballot.

Are there any current bonds that will be terminating in the next few years?

Yes. A construction bond, which was passed in 1990 for $18.5 million, was paidoff in 2009.

Whatever happened to the property the district owned on the Clover Park Technical College campus?

In the early 1990s, the state legislature removed technical colleges from the K-12 system and placed them within the higher education system. As part of the separation agreement, Clover Park School District owns the AI High School site and the food services commissary site. However, the district had to move out of other buildings on the campus once the college moved its aircraft programs to Thun Field in Puyallup. The state, as part of the separation agreement, provided a one-time allocation for the renovation of a former aircraft hanger to be utilized as the district’s transportation, maintenance, technical services center or Auxiliary Service Center (ASC). The property, by law, had to be utilized for this purpose or the funds would be recovered. This renovation was complete and the district has relocated programs to the ASC in 2002.

Is there a special bond tax exemption for senior citizens or those with a limited income?

Yes. More information is available from the Pierce County Assessor’s Office’s Web site at http://www.co.pierce.wa.us/abtus/ourorg/at/at.htm

NOTICE TO SENIOR CITIZENS AND DISABLED PERSONS: If your annual income does not exceed $35,000 and you own and reside in your home, including mobile homes, you may be entitled to a property tax reduction. You must be at least 61 years of age or, if under 61 years, retired because of a disability and unable to work. Property taxes may be deferred under certain conditions. For further information, please call (253) 798-6111.

Why do we need new facilities, I heard enrollment is going down? If we are consolidating schools, why are we building two new ones?

Though our district has grown in recent years, since 2000 the district has experienced some enrollment decline. In 2004, the school district closed Heartwood Elementary on McChord. When a school is closed, it allows the district to use money saved from not operating the school on other schools and educational programs that continue to function. The proposal calls for the consolidation of the Oakwood and Southgate Elementary Schools into a single new facility. The proposal with the Harrison Preparatory School project also calls for the closure of the AI High School facility.

Currently, the former Lake City Elementary is being used as a temporary facility to house the Harrison Preparatory School program.

The district is asking voters to consider the bond proposition in an effort to protect the investment taxpayers have made over the years. Although the district has done an excellent job of maintaining schools, averaging 47 years old, the facilities and internal systems, like heating and electrical, are well beyond there expected operating lives and are wearing out.

As demographics change and new construction is completed – will school boundaries change?

Possibly. Elementary school boundaries may be impacted.

Who buys the bonds?

When the district selected its underwriters (the folks who assist organizations in selling bonds), it chose one who had the ability to sell to both industry clients and individual investors. As a result, besides major investors like insurance companies, banks, etc. individuals, both locally and nationally, will have the opportunity to purchase our bonds.

What if the Feb. 9 bond proposition does not pass?

The community owned schools will continue to get older and the opportunity to upgrade the educational environment for our students during the lowest construction cost period since 2000 will have passed. The school board will need to determine if the school district asks voters to reconsider the proposition, and if so, when. The district will develop contingency plans to address the cost escalation in utilities and maintenance and the loss of approximately $700,000 that would come with the passage of the bond.The earliest the bond proposition could be placed back on the ballot would be in April 2010.

What will be the impact on students if the bond fails?

All of our students will continue to be educated in facilities which are aging, and the technology gap will widen due to the absence of the necessary technology infrastructure. More of the district’s discretionary dollars will be needed to maintain facilities and address critical building system needs.

In addition, if some of the internal systems (electrical and heating) shut down, the district may have to consider closing a school, which might entail double shifting students.

How much will the bond cost?

The proposition is based on a level total tax rate program. Once approved, the estimated 2010 total tax rate of $4.30 would be maintained over the life of the bond.

Who will supervise usage of funds?

The district’s administrator for business services and capital projects with oversight from the superintendent and board of directors.

How many years will I be taxed for this bond?

That depends on when the bonds are sold and what the market conditions are at the time of the sale. The bond resolution defines it as being a period up to 25 years.

What is the voter registration deadline?

Citizens must be registered 30 days prior to an election. The deadline to be registered for the Feb. 9, 2010 election is Jan. 8. A special registration period between the 15th and 30th day prior to the election is available if the voter resides in the county on or before the 30th day before the election. To register up to 15 days prior to an election, visit the Pierce County Auditor’s Office or a site designated by the auditor.

Can members of the military vote on the bond proposition?

Yes, they need to be registered voters in Washington state. Voter registration opportunities are available on both Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base.

Can we wear campaign buttons during school hours on school property?

Yes. Please refer to the Public Disclosure Commission’s New Guidelines for School Districts in Election Campaigns for more specific information. The guidelines are included in this booklet.

Where can I get more information?

For more information, call the district’s community relations office at 583-5040 or the business services and capital projects office at 583-5010. Information is also available on the district’s Web site at www.cloverpark.k12.wa.us.

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