News

Coupeville gears up bond campaign

Voters will decide May 18 whether to approve a $22.8 million bond election for the Coupeville School District.

That money will finance construction of a new high school and a series of upgrades and renovations to other school district buildings.

In the months leading up to the election, Coupeville School District Superintendent Bill Myhr plans on doing lots of talking to explain the proposal.

“I will go talk to anyone at anytime,” said Myhr. “Just tell me where.”

Since the school board set the bond date at its February meeting, Myhr has been speaking to community groups, church congregations and anyone else who’s willing to listen.

Myhr said that he averages about two meetings a week and has been in contact with about 20 organizations about potential meetings.

School officials have prioritized the projects they want to accomplish into three levels.

First priority projects includes building a high school and a physical education/health/classroom and locker room facility, and demolishing the current high school and two other buildings.

Second-level priorities include renovations at the middle school, performing arts center and the elementary school, while third-level priorities include developing replacement baseball and softball fields on 22 acres of school district property.

Should the bond be approved by voters, they would pay an additional $1.35 per thousand dollars assessed value in property taxes.

Even though Myhr is meeting with groups to rally support for the bond, he said it’s not the only thing being used to get the word out.

In the next week to 10 days, school district residents will see an informational brochure in their mailboxes outlining the school district construction projects and the bond election.

Myhr said the brochure is one of the only things the district can do to inform residents about the bond.

Bond promotion has to be done without using school district resources, Myhr said.

To further help get the word out, a volunteer bond committee has formed that currently boasts more than 30 members.

“Everybody has the same mission: Good schools make a productive and prosperous community,” said Paty Williams, co-chair of the bond committee.

In the next couple of weeks, they will be producing a promotional brochure directed toward voters.

Myhr said the district has to look at the upcoming election as two campaigns because of the number of residents using absentee ballots.

In last November’s election, more than 60 percent of the voters in Island County cast absentee ballots, which are mailed out three weeks prior to election day.

Because of this, the bond committee wants to ensure residents have the brochure by the end of April when the absentee ballots are mailed out, said Suzanne Bond, co-chair of the bond committee.

In addition to the brochures, volunteers are organized and will go door to door to promote the bond, Bond said.

As the election day nears, signs will be posted at strategic spots around the district and the voters will be called the day before the election to remind them to vote, Bond said.

She added that bond supporters will be out on the street corners on election day.

People interested in volunteering for the bond committee contact Bond at 678-5142.

You can reach News-Times reporter Nathan Whalen at nwhalen@whidbeynewstimes.com.

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