School Bond Info

At their October 23rd, 2017 meeting, the Kalama Schools Board of Directors unanimously approved a resolution placing a bond proposition the February 13, 2018 special elections ballot.

On the right you will find links to important information and a picture slideshow of the bond proposal.

On Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018 Kalama voters will consider a $63 million dollar school construction bond that will allow the school district to:
  • Increase capacity at Kalama Elementary
  • Provide music, at & drama spaces at KES
  • Cafeteria & kitchen expansion at KES
  • Improve building & site safety and security
Expand Education Opportunities & improve STEM and career/technical program spaces.

Projects to be completed if the bond passes include:
  • New Kalama Elementary School
  • New Secondary School & Middle School Classroom Additions
  • Provide Cooling at KHS
  • Expand the Shop Space at KHS
  • Capital Facility & Site Safety Improvements


What is a bond?
Much like a home mortgage, a bond is a contract to borrow money and repay it with interest. Bonds allow the district to finance new school construction, renovations and additions.

What is the difference between a bond and levy?

  • Bonds fund the building and modernization of schools
  • Bonds are financed over a long period of time, typically 20 years
  • Bond dollars cannot pay for classroom teachers, staff, programs or day-to-day support and expenses Requires 60+ percent voter approval to pass
LEVIES are for LEARNING and student activities:
  • After-school clubs
  • Athletics
  • Academics
  • Band & Choir
  • Art
  • Drama
  • Teacher
  • Technology
  • Safety & Security

What does STEM stand for?
STEM stands for Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics. Learning pathways and careers are increasingly tied to STEM fields. In order to prepare students to become literate in STEM subjects, schools require facilities which are designed for this purpose. Kalama is currently offering Computer programming, Robotics, Natural Resources, Computer Aided Design and Drafting and many other STEM related courses, but our facilities were not built for.

Why Does the old Elementary School need to be demolished?
The committee discussed this question extensively. In order to address the issues we are facing, the elementary must be removed. There are multiple reasons this is the case, and they interrelate:
  • Campus safety would not be improved without the removal. Several years ago, following the Sandy Hook shootings, our district reviewed campus conditions and safety. The result of this review was to move all elementary students out of portables and into the main building. Designing a project to use portables would be counter-productive to the safety measures already put in place. The proposed project would move ALL students into the school building.
  • Centralization of building administration would not be practical or efficient and may require more staffing to ensure proper supervision over time. This increased operational cost would take away from educational resources every year.
  • Sharing of teaching staff would be more complicated and/or impractical on a day-to-day basis
    Sink, bathrooms and counters were all designed with “little people” in mind; things are lower or smaller
  • Safety: traffic flow and parking would continue to be unsafe and congested
  • Way-finding would still be complicated and confusing for parents and visitors
  • There would still be no room for growth

Can we use the acreage above the stadium for a school or sports field?
Yes AND No. This exact question was discussed and explored at length by our committee. The idea of using the space makes a lot of sense. However, once we investigated the nature of the topography in this region, and the costs associated with removing it (blasting, trucking, shaping, storm water, etc.), we learned that we could literally build a school for the cost of moving the rock.

I have heard the the high school will not benefit from the proposed school bond. What benefits will the high school realize from the bond?

The Facilities Planning Committee recommended a plan that called for the complete updating and retrofitting of the historic high school building. Unfortunately, the final estimated cost of completing this project, along with the other improvements, was well above our bonding capacity as a community -- almost 90 million dollars.

As a result, the committee divided its recommendations into two phases. The committee prioritized a new elementary school facility in the first phase due to the inadequacy of current facilities to safely house students and programs at this level.

In addition to solving elementary overcrowding problems, the first phase would prepare designated middle school spaces and complete key projects which will positively impact the high school:
  1. Science classroom(s): One is currently designated, but programing needs will determine actual secondary usage of the 4 to be built.
  2. Career & Technical Education / Shop expansion
  3. Commons added
  4. Cafeteria & warming kitchen added
  5. Full climate control with the addition of Air Conditioning
  6. Weight room added (weight rooms are not required for schools, but neither are athletics. Because we have athletic programs and teach required physical fitness courses, the provision of athletic conditioning for both fitness and athletic safety are important. We already have a weightlifting program, the program simply doesn't have a proper space.)
  7. Health classroom added
  8. Art, Band, World Language, English and Social Studies will all be moved back into the HS building from the portables into high school classrooms
  9. Traffic & Parking
  10. New Fields for baseball and softball
  11. Centralized administration and students services: special education, counseling, etc.
The bond improvements will also enable existing facilities to be used more adaptively to provide for:
  1. A high school learning commons (2nd floor)
  2. High School Department clustering (Math, English, Social Studies)
  3. A designated Arts Area to include Drama, Choir, Band and Art
  4. Dedicated space for special education programs

Why is the enrollment information on the OSPI Report Card different than what the district is reporting about its enrollment history, shouldn’t these numbers be the same? School districts only report enrollment that is tied to state funding. Each month, September - June, schools report their monthly enrollment count to the state and they receive apportionment (funding) based upon this enrollment. This enrollment is represented in terms of student FTE (full time equivalent) status.

The OPSI Report Card shows the headcount number of students who were ever in attendance at the school for any period of time. So, Johnny J. could be enrolled in school in September and then withdraw later the same month. The report card numbers would say that Johnny J. never left the school district. Then, in October, Suzie Q could enter the district and leave in November, again, the report card would say that Suzy Q. and Johnny J are two students who have been in the district all year. While it is true that they are 2 students who set foot in the district, it is not true that they were part of our overall enrollment of 2.0 FTE for the year. Their enrollment may not even hit the books for FTE. If schools were funded according to report card number, those with highly transient populations would receive a significant boost in funding. However, this is not the case.

See how the report card numbers artificially inflate or reduce the reported enrollment based upon either over-counting Suzie Q. and Johnny J, or not having a Suzie Q or Johnny J. to count in the first place. From 2008 - 2011 it is clear that many students came to Kalama for short period of time or were present in a part time status, but a large number didn’t stay in Kalama long enough to be counted as FTE for funding.

 2017 = 1,020.99  2017 = 955
 2016 = 944.20
2015 = 919.38
2014 = 892.09
2013 = 894.01
2012 = 927.78
2011 = 949.93
2010 = 998.58
2009 = 996.28
2008 = 984.82
 2016 = 942
2015 = 943
2014 = 952
2013 = 888
2012 = 983
2011 = 1,045
2010 = 1,056
2009 = 1,041
2008 = 1,010
Source: OSPI P223 Reports, official enrollment reports used to determine state apportionment Source: OSPI Report Card

​Will bond be available to purchase by individuals?
First and foremost, anyone interested in purchasing district bonds will want to discuss the potential investment with their financial planner.  It is very important that they determine if the investment is appropriate for their goals.

If an individual already has a relationship with Charles Schwab they could discuss the investment with their contact at the firm.  Charles Schwab has a retail relationship with Piper Jaffray.

In addition, an individual may reach out to Mychelle Lindvall, with Piper Jaffray @ 206.628.5465.  Mychelle has worked with PJC for many years and is their primary contact for all retail investors.

Any individuals who will have a "say" in the issuance of the bonds (e.g. Board members, district administrators) should not purchase district bonds.  While most folk’s hearts are in the right place, this could be construed as a conflict of interest.  Better to avoid that all together.

Will the exterior of the new buildings look like the existing high school with main element being brick with the same architectural features This would make look like everything belongs and not like now where it is hodgepodge of buildings.
You're asking a great question and it's a question our committee spent a considerable amount of time discussing and attending to. The committee developed a set of guiding principles (Click here to view) that set the "ground rules" for our discussion of physical facilities. One of them, "Have Contextual Aesthetics" was used to set a priority aimed at ensuring the new buildings would maintain and/or complement the look and feel of the historic high school. The overall design of this project relates to clearing up our current "hodgepodge" school building placement and laying a foundation for the future which is logical and comprehensive. I would be happy to explain this future if you're interested.

What is the balance in each of the capital projects reserve accounts? How much of this will be used to offset the cost of these planned projects. What is the bond amount, interest rate and payment schedule?
Our school district does not have a capital projects reserve account. The only capital accounts we have will be mostly expended, as they were created to address specific capital needs in our schools which were approved by the voters, and therefore cannot be used for alternate purposes. The proposed bond measure would create the revenue needed to complete the proposed projects using proceeds from the sale of school bonds. The bond measure is for $63,400,000. The proceeds will build a new elementary school, secondary school addition and add onto existing Career and Technical Education facilities. Site safety, parking, traffic flow and other site improvements will also be included.

Interest rate: The District is able to borrow funds using tax-exempt interest rates, which are currently near historic lows. The actual interest rates are set when bonds are sold. In the current market, similar bonds have been sold at interest rates between 3.25-3.75%

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