By Jeff Heckathorn
The Everett School District normally runs school bonds and levies in “Special Elections” in February or April. By law, for these “Special Elections,” each WA school district decides if there will be a voters’ pamphlet listing pros and cons for these measures. The Everett SD rarely if ever allows pro/con arguments in a voters’ pamphlet. At the February bond info meeting, the district reps stated that they were going to follow the Everett SD practice and would not allow a voters’ pamphlet for the April ballot.
Since I feel strongly that there should always be pro/con arguments listed in a voters’ pamphlet especially on school measures involving hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars, I created this website in January 2020.
Then the COVID-19 pandemic struck. The Everett School District’s 2020 bond for $317.4M that was originally scheduled for April 2020 was canceled.
In May of 2020, the Everett School District school board voted unanimously to reschedule the bond for August 2020. The August 2020 election is NOT a “Special Election” since there are state-wide measures and offices. And therefore, by law, there will be a voters’ pamphlet regardless of what school districts would prefer. WA school districts must now plan for pro/con arguments for their measures which the Everett School District had to do.
WA school districts still however have the authority, by current law, to decide who is on the pro and con committees to write the respective pro/con arguments even though that sets up a clear conflict of interest.
The district did not advertise for the pro committee members. They were pre-selected by Everett SD administrators. The district did however advertise for the con committee members using their website with little notice. After the board’s decision on May 5th, all of 2 days were then available for interested citizens to “apply” to the school district to be on the con statement writing committee for the August election to meet the county’s deadline on May 8th.
I would like to thank Janelle Burke and Rodman Reynolds for joining me on the con statement writing committee. Rodman graciously served as our chairperson and lead writer. Janelle’s name unfortunately was not permitted to be included on the official voters’ pamphlet due to the Everett School District’s mishandling of her email application and the error prone process that the district used. But Janelle none the less participated and contributed with Rodman and I to complete the con arguments and the rebuttal to the pro committee’s arguments.
While they are not associated with this website in any way, I still would also like to thank the pro committee members (the ones who are volunteers, who don’t work for the district, and who are not politicians) for their civic participation in providing their views on this school bond for the voters’ pamphlet.
The official voters’ pamphlet was mailed July 15th, 2020 to all area households.
An electronic version is available on the Snohomish County’s website:
Page 45 of the following pdf has the pro/con arguments for the proposed bond:
A voters’ guide with the pro/con arguments can also be obtained at the Washington State’s voter portal. Login required: