What CFAC is Talking About…
It’s a big ask, but Highline’s volunteer school bond planners are up to the task. Our Capital Facilities Advisory Committee (CFAC) is a group of community members who meet each month to work on recommendations for future school construction needs in our district.
In their first four meetings this school year, members reviewed CFAC’s previous recommendations and learned about school construction funding, district facilities conditions, enrollment projections and more.
Goal: Community Recommendations for Future Facilities
The goal is to develop community recommendations for construction and renovation of schools and support facilities. The school board will consider these recommendations as it plans for future ballot measures to fund construction bonds.
This year, CFAC will complete a long-term plan that sets top priorities for future school bonds.
The committee’s 2015-16 recommendations resulted in a November 2016 ballot measure approved by voters. Three of the approved bond projects are under construction and will open in September. The fourth major project, Highline High School, is scheduled to open in fall 2021.
Also funded by the 2016 bond: design work for Evergreen HIgh School, Tyee High School and Pacific Middle School. That work starts this year.
Also this year, CFAC will complete a long-term plan that sets top priorities for future school bonds.
CFAC Meeting Highlights
Highlights of CFAC meetings this school year include:
Election of co-chairs Rose Clark and Aaron Garcia.
Election of Mika Sundberg to fill an empty seat on the Oversight Committee, which meets quarterly to review bond spending and progress. CFAC members Tonita Webb and Rose Clark are also members of the Oversight Committee.
Bonds vs. levies explained. Levies are for learning (programs, staff and daily operation of schools); bonds are for building (facilities construction and renovation.)
Construction funding mechanisms (bonds, state matching funds and federal grants).
Bond debt capacity: Mark Prussing, a financial advisor from Educational Service District 112, shared information about Highline’s debt capacity--the amount of money the district can borrow on behalf of taxpayers. School districts sell bonds to raise money for construction, which must then be paid back over time by taxpayers. Prussing suggested a future bond amount could be set at $325 million, despite the district having a much higher legal debt capacity available in 2019-20 when the former bond is retired.
Operational & support needs: athletic fields and support facilities, such as transportation facilities.
School capacity needs: With current bond-funded construction projects plus 13 additional elementary classrooms paid for by a state grant, Highline is projected to have adequate capacity for class size reduction in kindergarten through third grade.
Enrollment projections: Enrollment is expected to dip a little in 2019-20, and then begin increasing. (Most school districts in South King County are also experiencing a decrease.) Our demographer has not yet pinpointed the cause but has indicated that rising housing costs and charter schools may be factors.
Information & Condition of Schools (ICOS) assessments: Amy Vanderhorst with Integrus Architects presented ICOS scores for our schools that have not been rebuilt yet. ICOS scores are determined by architects and engineers based on the condition of buildings, including roofing, HVAC systems, plumbing, etc.
Next Up: CFAC members will tour schools and sites to gain first-hand knowledge of school conditions.
February CFAC Meeting: Wednesday, February 13, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Central Office. The public is welcome to observe CFAC meetings.