Local News

Will fifth time be the charm for East Valley schools?

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. - Is the fifth time the charm? The East Valley School District is hoping voters will pass a bond at a February 12 special election. Their last successful bond was back in 1996.

Some of East Valley's schools were built in 1979 and it's starting to show. They say they need common sense upgrades like sprinkler systems and heating and cooling systems, but also big ticket items, like a new football field, so the high school's team can actually practice there.

"I came here in 1989 when this building was the beautiful new high school in the greater Spokane area," Principal Jeff Miller said.

He's been around to see the school in its glory days and now -- 24 years later -- to see it fall apart.

East Valley School Bond vo

"We're lacking sorely; we have a little 106 seat small black box theater," Miller said.

Miller has also been around to see four separate bonds fail, so he's really hoping this new $65 Million bond can bring his kids the school they deserve.

"It would be wonderful; we have the lowest school taxes of any district around us, so we just want to get up in the mainstream and provide our kids with the same things that the other kids enjoy," he said.

A major goal of this bond is to put an astroturf field at East Valley High School; as it stands right now teams can't even practice on the field for fear it will get too muddy. Instead they head out to the cow pastures to practice for big games.

The bond would pay for big ticket items like that new field., but also smaller upgrades.

It calls for a $1.35 tax on every $1,000 of a home's assessed value. That means a home in the East Valley School District valued at $150,000 would be taxed about $202 a year.

"The feedback we're getting from the community and our parents is really positive," Brian Wallace said.

Wallace is the executive director of operations for all East Valley schools. The ones in most need of modernization, he says, are the K through 8 elementary schools.

"There's some rooms that don't have enough power, you plug in eight computers and you flip the breaker," he explained.

And so if the fifth time is the charm, Miller and Wallace think they might see their schools brought into the 21st century.

"It's 25 years old and it's time for some upgrades so that our kids have some upgraded faclities to compete in and perform in and same as the kids in neighboring high schools," Miller said.