$650 million on upcoming ballot for Tacoma Public Schools

On Tuesday, $1.7 billion will be on the ballot for four western Washington school districts that say their campuses need major repairs and expansion.

In Tacoma, they're asking voters for more than $650 million. It includes Proposition 1, a construction bond that would replace five deteriorating schools, including:

  • DeLong Elementary
  • IDEA High School
  • Point Defiance Elementary
  • Stanley Elementary
  • Whitman Elementary

For Whitman Elementary though, it would be modernized on the inside and preserved on the outside, as it's listed as a historic building.

Six other schools would see renovations, including:

  • West End swing site (former Skyline Elementary)
  • Silas High School
  • Hilltop Heritage Middle School
  • Franklin Elementary School
  • Central Administration Building
  • Professional Development Center

More basic health, safety, and security upgrades are also planned across the entire district, according to Tacoma Public Schools.

The improvements range from early learning spaces to new roofs, more ADA accessibility and expanding career and technological education, including a maritime skills center.

If voters approve it, the average Tacoma homeowner would pay an extra $90 a year in taxes, less than $10 a month.

The district says these improvements are important for the entire community, and not just students and teachers. Especially since they are one of the largest school districts in Washington, with four early learning preschool centers, 36 elementary schools, 12 middle schools, and 11 high schools, serving more than 28,000 students.

Because this is a bond, it needs more than 60% of the vote to pass. And because it's a special election, voter turnout needs to be at least 40% of those who turned out in the general election.