The Ridgefield School District hopes the third time will be the charm for its latest bond initiative. The school board voted unanimously Tuesday to send a construction measure back to voters on the April 28 ballot.
This time, the district is asking for a significantly smaller bond: $40.5 million rather than $107 million. The bond would cover the construction of a new kindergarten-through-sixth-grade elementary school, which will eventually be tapered back into a kindergarten-through-fourth-grade school to match the rest of the district. It would also build inclusive playgrounds at South Ridge and Union Ridge elementary schools.
School impact fees will be used to purchase property for a future fifth- and sixth-grade intermediate school and seventh- and eighth-grade middle school. Construction will be paid for out of a future bond, which voters will have to approve.
In a letter to parents, Superintendent Nathan McCann said the stakes are high for Ridgefield, which anticipates significant growth in the coming years. Demographers project an additional 1,760 students will enter the district by 2023-2024. That’s more than 50 percent growth in the suburban school district, whose enrollment was 3,358 students in January, according to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.
“Ridgefield continues to grow, and we desperately need new school facilities,” he said.
Larger bonds have failed in the suburban school district two years in a row. This month’s $107 million bond failed with 59.19 percent support. School bonds require a 60 percent supermajority in Washington to succeed. In 2019, the district ran a $77 million bond, which failed with 58.12 percent support.