Frequently Asked Questions
Why do Camas, Satus and PACE need to be replaced?
Facilities maintenance and replacement is one of the cornerstones of the District’s “Equitable Continuous Growth Plan”. This strategic plan was developed with input from various stakeholders (parents, students, community members, school district staff) and adopted by the School Board in 2021.
Additonally, in the fall of 2022 a “Study and Survey” of all school buildings in the District was conducted by an independent engineering firm to assess the condition of each. The results of that process showed Camas, Satus and PACE are in the worst shape. To learn more about the issues with Camas click HERE. To learn more about Satus click HERE. To learn more about PACE click HERE.
Why build new buildings instead of renovating the existing ones?
Rebuilding these schools entirely is actually more efficient than renovations which could stretch on for years and fail to address fundamental flaws in the school's safety and design. Moreover, such renovations typically require relocating students which is disruptive to student learning.
A full demolition and rebuild would cost about the same as renovating and would allow the District the opportunity to more efficiently construct safer, modern schools designed to support safety, enhanced teaching and learning programs and the instructional technology used every day in our classrooms.
Why is the District proposing to replace Camas and Satus with a single, larger consolidated elementary school building?
According to construction industry experts, it is much cheaper to build a larger, single building than to build two separate elementary school buildings.
Didn’t the school district just pass a bond in February 2022, why is the District proposing another bond?
No. The funding measure voters approved in February 2022 was an Educational Programs and Operations Replacement Levy. Levies and bonds are different.
Levies are for Learning: A levy is a short-term, local property tax passed by the voters of a school district that generates revenue for the district to fund programs and services that the state does not fund or fully fund as part of “basic education".
Bonds are for Building: A bond provides funding for capital projects such as constructing new schools, purchasing property for schools or modernizing existing schools. Bonds are sold to investors who are repaid with interest over time from property tax collections, generally between 10-25 years.
When was the District's last bond election?
The last time the District asked voters to approve a bond proposal was during the February 2011 special election. It was during that election that voters approved the bond which was used to build the new Wapato High School.
How much would the bond cost taxpayers in the Wapato School District?
If voters approve the $33-million bond proposal, it is estimated it would cost $1.72 per $1,000 of assessed property value. (EXAMPLE: for a home valued at $225,000 that would be $32.25 per month)
Does Washington State provide any funding for school construction?
The state has a program called the State Construction Assistance Program (SCAP). The assistance available through SCAP is based on a school district’s inability to fund construction costs themselves as measured by a district’s assessed value per student.
If voters approve the proposed bond, the Wapato School District qualifies for a total of approximately $27.4-million in state assistance for the proposed projects. $27.4-million is more than 45% of the total cost of the two new schools.
How much bond money and state assistance would be used for each project?
- Camas/Satus Elementary School Project: Estimated $26.7-million of the bond and $21-million of the state assistance.
- PACE High School Project: Estimated $6.3-million of the bond and $6.4-million of the state assistance.
How did the District settle on a bond amount what projects to include in the bond proposal?