Ridgefield resident and Ridgefield High School graduate Tara Nathan shares her thoughts about the Ridgefield School Bond.
Editor’s note: Opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are those of the author alone and do not reflect the editorial position of ClarkCountyToday.com.
The secret is out about Ridgefield and what a wonderful place it is to live and raise a family. As a longtime resident and 1994 graduate of Ridgefield High School, I support the 2020 bond efforts by our district. I see firsthand how crowded our schools are currently with having two kids attending schools in the district.
To move forward, it helps to look backwards and see how far we have come as a community and as a school district. When I graduated in 1994 our total population was barely over 1,500 residents and as of 2018 we are at 8,357 residents. That’s some growth folks.
Since I graduated, Ridgefield School District has tried for bonds in 1999, 2000, 2005, 2006 and 2008, which all failed. Thankfully, in 2012, we did finally pass a bond that allowed us to expand at both elementary schools and add on at the high school.
In 2017, we saw another successful bond that built the new intermediate — middle school campus, a whole new wing at the high school, security upgrades district wide — all on time and under budget.
In 2015, the district invited anyone willing to participate, join the capital facilities committee to help the district develop a plan to accommodate the impending growth we all knew was coming. This plan has been public knowledge from inception. It has always included increasing the district to a total of four elementary schools, two intermediate/middle schools, extensive additions at the high school and also consideration for a second smaller niche high school. This has been the plan. This bond is us, as a community, executing that plan.
The kids are here and more kids are coming. An estimated 1,700 more students are expected to join our district in the next four years. That’s more than our entire city’s population when I graduated.
The next argument is always over the growth in Ridgefield. Nobody likes growth and change is hard, I totally understand and agree it’s challenging. Did you know that Washington state has a “Growth Management Act”? This law actually requires towns in certain areas to not only plan for growth but to grow. Ridgefield can be fined, from my understanding, if we do not participate and actively grow. So there is no “go away we are full” sign that can be placed at the first roundabout. So welcome new neighbors. Please vote.
Lastly, please understand how schools are built in the state we live in. Bonds are for building. Even the state will not provide funds towards new schools until local tax dollars are in play (a bond). Impact fees are also another mechanism that supports these efforts, were recently raised to the highest in the county at over $10,000 per dwelling. These fees were used to purchase the land where our new elementary school will be built and used to help with construction costs on this bond.
Please educate yourself on the facts and join me and my family in voting YES for Ridgefield Schools!