Funding for school construction, facility improvements, and property purchases comes from a capital projects funds. This is separate from the district's general fund and by law, cannot be used for day-to-day operations or to address budget shortfalls. Funding for staffing to operate schools comes from the district's general fund.
For more information about our current facilities planning process, please view the updates posted in the right column and the Facilities Planning Task Force webpage.
Last Updated April 19, 2013:
A Message from Superintendent Greg Baker
As you may recall, I received a recommendation from the Facilities Planning Task Force in February. Since that time, our staff has focused on working closely with our Larrabee, Happy Valley and Lowell school communities and neighbors regarding the recommendation to retire Larrabee Elementary School for use as a K-5 school. Prior to spring break, I shared that Larrabee will remain open for next school year, 2013-14.
Following the Task Force’s process from September 2012 through January 2013, I have spent the past two months gathering additional input from our Larrabee staff, families and community. Please click here to read an endorsement of the Task Force’s recommendation to retire Larrabee for use as a K-5 elementary school at the end of a school year between June 2014 and June 2016, with the exact date to be determined based on future information. I have shared with Larrabee families and staff that our next step in the process is to hold a public hearing at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 8 in Larrabee's gym regarding Larrabee’s possible retirement as a K-5 school and on the school district's analysis of the effects of the proposed closure. Following this hearing, a decision will be made about whether to move forward with retiring Larrabee for use as a K-5 school at the end of a school year between June 2014 and June 2016, with the exact date to be determined based on future information.
Meanwhile, staff are continuing to process the rest of the Facilities Planning Task Force recommendation to rebuild Sehome High School and answer other remaining questions, including the need to:
• Explore the best bond financing options to minimize the local property tax impact;
• Further research the benefits and costs of locating a centralized kitchen in a new Sehome High School to prepare higher quality, more
made-from-scratch meals for all 22 schools;
• Explore the potential for a district culinary arts program and/or other career and technical education programs located at Sehome or other
sites that require specialized construction;
• Plan the location of some facilities such as the Learning Support Center/District Office and Options/Innovations High School;
• Engage Parkview Elementary School families and staff regarding the recommendation to improve Parkview;
• Plan for the reopening of Birchwood Elementary School in fall 2014;
• Engage students, staff, families and community in building a vision related to Options/Innovations High School;
• Determine the extent of the rebuild of the transportation facility;
• Conduct more planning for phases 1 and 2 of adding synthetic turf athletic fields at our high schools;
• Consider future facility needs for our conservation site on Lake Whatcom;
• Further explore the extent and possible timeline for completing work at Sunnyland, Carl Cozier and Columbia elementary schools;
• Further research the safety upgrades and maintenance costs needed for all schools.
This facilities planning places a high value on community neighborhood schools and makes the best possible use of our existing land
and spaces to deliver an exceptional educational program for all students.
I will continue to keep you informed as we make progress on facilities planning and the exciting possibilities for our Bellingham community
and future generations of students.