Lake Washington School District appeared to garner the only support from voters during a preliminary count of special election ballots on Tuesday, April 23.
Voters on the Eastside cast their ballots for multiple issues, depending on where the voter lives — a fire district merger was on ballots in the Valley, a levy was on tap for Lake Washington School District voters, and Hospital District 2 floated a potential bond.
All results are preliminary and could change as additional ballots are received through the mail. No results are final until the election is certified on May 3.
Valley fire merger
Initial results show voters rejecting a fire district merger, with 54.7 percent of voters rejecting proposition 1.
The merger between Fire District 27, home of Fall City Fire Department, and Eastside Fire and Rescue’s Fire District 10 (covering much of the Valley, along with Issaquah and Sammamish) proposed a new tax structure and changes in operations and staffing.
Proponents noted that equipment and maintenance costs would be lessened through a merger due to shared resources. Opponents worried about a loss of local control and a loss of past capital investments, as well as a reduction in service (proponents disagreed with those concerns).
The issue was hotly debated leading up to the election.
Voters looked favorably on the Lake Washington School District, with preliminary ballots showing nearly 54 percent of ballots voting “Yes” for the proposed levy.
Lake Washington School District (LWSD) overlaps many Eastside communities, including Kirkland, Redmond, Woodinville and Sammamish.
The proposition authorizes a six-year levy totaling $120 million or $20 million per year for six years. The 2019 levy maintains the current tax rate with no rate increase.
Over the past 10 years, the district has grown by 6,218 students, a 26 percent growth. As of October 2018, nearly 30,000 students were enrolled in LWSD.
An additional 2,000 students are projected to enroll in the district by 2022.
The capital projects levy hopes to address the growth by funding the construction of permanent classroom additions at Lake Washington High School (20 classrooms), Rachel Carson Elementary School (four classrooms), Benjamin Franklin Elementary School (eight classrooms), Rose Hill Elementary School (eight classrooms) and Mark Twain Elementary school (four classrooms).
The classroom additions will add capacity for 1,052 students.
The levy also will provide an additional auxiliary gymnasium and commons space at LWHS, and additional core facilities at Rachel Carson, Ben Franklin, Rose Hill and Mark Twain elementary schools.
The final part of the levy will provide exterior security cameras at elementary schools, as well as entrance modifications to entrances of LWHS, Eastlake High School and Redmond High School.
Hospital District 2
While voters overall looked favorably on a potential bond for Hospital District 2, preliminary tallies were coming up short. The measure required a supermajority — more than 60 percent approval — to pass. On election night, the bond had only 57.38 percent approval.
A little more than 47,000 ballots were counted (about 25.8 percent of registered voters in the district).
Marketed as the “EverHealthy” campaign, Hospital District 2 was requesting voter approval for a $345 million, 20-year bond to fund critical upgrades.
The upgrades needed for EvergreenHealth’s Kirkland medical center are outlined in the health system’s 10-year Master Facilities Plan (MFP).
If the ballot measure is passed when additional ballots are counted, property owners in the hospital district will pay $0.18 per $1,000 of assessed home value per year over 20 years to pay for upgrades to the medical center’s Critical Care Unit (CCU), extensive seismic upgrades to the original hospital, modernize the Family Maternity Center (FMC) and update aging systems.
Hospital District 2 spans several Eastside communities, as far south as Sammamish, north to Snohomish County, as far west as Kenmore, and into the Snoqualmie Valley, reaching east of Duvall. The service area extends beyond the district boundaries.