School bond receives overwhelming support

By Steve Guntli

The Blaine school district will receive some much-needed upgrades after voters chose to pass a $45 million bond.

Early results from February 10 show 69.7 percent support for the bond. The bond will pay for several improvements at Blaine High School and Point Roberts Primary School and add additional all-day kindergarten classrooms to Blaine Primary School. Ron Spanjer, superintendent of the Blaine school district, said he was overjoyed by the news.

“We are just absolutely thrilled,” he said. “It’s an incredible statement of support from all three communities: Blaine, Birch Bay and Point Roberts. Nearly 70 percent of the vote is, I believe, the largest percentage on a ‘yes’ vote that a school bond in this district has ever received.”

The majority of the funds raised by the bond, approximately $38 million, will go toward remodeling Blaine High School. The facility was built in the early 1970s to accommodate around 300 students. Today, however, approximately 650 high school students use the facility, and have to share cafeteria space, a library and computer labs with the middle school.

Voters shot down similar proposals in 2008 and 2011. The 2011 bond for $32 million earned 59 percent of the vote, just shy of the 60 percent needed to pass the measure. In 2012, voters approved a smaller, $3 million bond to add six new science classrooms to the high school.

The 20-year bond will replace the current bond expiring in 2016. Spanjer said the school board waited to propose the bond until the current one expired. The projected tax rate on the bond is $1.04 per $1,000 of a home’s assessed value.

Spanjer said he expects all projects will be complete by the 2019–2020 school year. The first project will be adding eight classrooms on to the primary school, which Spanjer estimates will be done by the start of the 2016 school year.

“We’re just excited to get started,” Spanjer said. “And we’re so, so grateful to the community for this outpouring of support.”

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