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Fact Checking the Against Prop 10 Statement in Voters’ Pamphlet

Updated: Mar 12

It's important that everyone has access to all the facts about Proposition 10 and 11. The Against Statements in the April 23 Voters’ Pamphlet misrepresented many facts. We wanted to provide fact-based responses to each misleading statement, and open dialogue for those with concerns about Proposition 10 and 11.


Read both our 'for' and the 'against' statement here.


Rebuttal of Proposition 10 Against Statement in Voters Pamphlet:


“...[education] should be affordable. That’s not what is happening.” 

As shared in the school district’s Frequently Asked Questions, the two proposition format was a recommendation made by interim superintendent Chris Griffith to provide voters with more options and flexibility. It provides the community with an option for smaller bond in Proposition 10, and larger bond in Proposition 10 & 11 combined, recognizing financial hardships in recent years.


Unfortunately building schools is expensive. Building costs continue to rise primarily due to labor shortages and increased cost of materials. In addition, school construction is particularly expensive because of: 


  • Safety and security requirements, such as controlled access points, lockdown systems, a distributed antenna system and security camera monitoring systems.  

  • Energy code mandates for public entities to reduce energy consumption, such as solar panels, electric vehicle charging stations, daylighting, and monitored outlets.

  • Needed programmatic elements, such as a kitchen, music and art spaces.

Additionally, some elements may be more costly upfront, but ultimately help reduce costs. The initial cost of construction represents only about 10% of the cost associated with operating a building over its entire life. Materials with increased durability, extended warranties, and reduced maintenance save money for the district over time. Additionally efficient systems reduce energy consumption and lower operational costs.


The Ridgefield School Board has tried to utilize as many other sources of revenue for these building projects as possible.The school district has already spent $15 million of developer impact fees on land acquisition and development of future construction sites. The school board approved that $10.5 million in impact fees be applied toward the costs of the projects in Proposition 10 and 11. Additionally, the School District has worked with the State to estimate that Ridgefield would be eligible for $11.7 million in state matching funds if the bonds pass. However, due to state law, a significant portion of the building projects still relies on community investment.


Clark County provides limited property tax relief to individuals with limited income, seniors, or persons with disabilities. Additional information about the program or to apply for tax relief, please visit: Property Tax Relief Programs | Clark County (wa.gov)


“You get no say in the design.” 

The designs of the proposed new elementary school were created starting in 2018. The process began by consulting with teachers and staff at our existing elementary schools, and also included student voices in the early design phase. The early renderings were shared at public board meetings, and the designs were finalized in 2020. These finalized designs were paid for using developer impact fees, and it would be financially irresponsible to throw these plans away and start over, and would also be insulting to the teachers and community members who provided their feedback on the designs back in 2018.


The $70 million proposal will cost over $110 million after interest over 21 years.” 

It’s not possible to accurately project the total cost of a bond over the 20 year repayment term, as the school district would refinance the bonds if interest rates drop. In fact, Ridgefield School District refinanced the existing bonds a few years ago, which saved $2.5 million in interest.


“[The third elementary school] just doesn’t need all the extras for the community.” 

We are unsure what “extras” are being suggested here.


“[The third elementary school] It is poorly designed and doesn’t appear to have fencing and other safety features.”

The new elementary school is thoughtfully designed and exceeds safety standards, including fencing around the perimeter of all student areas. In fact, the only part of the campus that would be accessible to the general public during the school day is the parking lot. There will be security cameras around the perimeter, electronic locks on all major points of entry, and the front office is deliberately oriented so that office staff are able to see when visitors are approaching the building. The playgrounds and athletic fields will be surrounded by fencing, and this is indicated on the design blueprint.


“Based on the current growth rate of about 28 kids per year, it will take 12 years to reach capacity in the elementary schools.”

This growth rate only reflects the change from 2022-23 to 2023-24 and is not accurate when looking at the larger picture of student enrollment over the past decade. Our elementary schools are currently well overcapacity. We currently have 1,462 students enrolled in grades K-4, which is 265 more students than what the campuses are intended to hold. If a new school is constructed, boundaries will be redrawn and enrollments across all three elementary schools will become mostly balanced, with approximately 500 students at each school. This would mean that Union Ridge Elementary would have (all numbers approximate) 500 students with capacity for 655; South Ridge Elementary would have 500 students with capacity for 542; and the new elementary school would have 500 students with capacity for 600.


“After tearing buildings down, this will finally add capacity to the fastest growing school. How much capacity?”

No buildings will be torn down if Proposition 10 passes, and the addition of 9 general education classrooms (plus a metals shop and metals classroom) absolutely increases capacity. At RHS, the average class size is 31 students, and the maximum is 35 students. Using these numbers, you can calculate that 10 new classrooms will add capacity for 310-350 students.


“Why a new [metals shop] when there is one being built at Clark College?” 

Partnerships with other educational institutions are certainly important, but the district cannot rely on other institutions to teach our students. Forcing our students to attend Clark College would make students pay additional tuition and fees, which would be unaffordable to many families. Being able to learn these skills on their own campus and as part of their regular curriculum delivers on Ridgefield School Disctrict’s promise to teach relevant and employable skills to our students, and is not out of the ordinary for public schools in our region. Career and Technical education is vitally important to many of our students, and provides many of them with a pathway to good jobs without having to go to college.


“New roofs? They’re needed. Why not through regular maintenance?”

The roofs on Ridgefield school buildings have undergone routine maintenance for decades now. However, all roofs have a finite lifespan, and the roofs on the original buildings at our elementary schools are well past due for full replacement at this point. 


“Tell them to go back to the drawing board and tighten their belts like you. We can do better.”

The longer we wait, the more expensive it gets. Using existing designs, the new K-4 school would have cost $51.7 million in 2020. That figure has already ballooned to $59.5 million dollars thanks to inflation and increased labor and materials costs. Our student population is only going to increase, as are labor and material costs. Waiting any longer will not only cost every household more, but jeopardize our student’s education.



Questions, or still need clarity, ask here.














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