March 2024

Welcome to Foundations, an e-newsletter focused on highlighting how our community's tax dollars through bonds and levies support student learning and achievement while modernizing and maintaining our school buildings.

KSD Board Approves Levy Resolution

At the board meeting on February 14, 2024, the Kent School District Board of Directors unanimously approved Resolution 1665 Capital Projects and Technology Replacement Levy for the April 23, 2024, ballot.

The 2024 Capital Projects and Technology Replacement Levy would provide a majority of funding over the next three years for health and safety, replacements and improvements, and technology education.

In total, the district would collect $190,200,000 over a three-year period. $154,200,000 of this would fund capital projects, including critical repairs and improvements to our buildings. $36,000,000 would fund technology, including district devices for students and needed upgrades to our technology infrastructure.

Health & Safety

  • Installation of healthy air ventilation and cooling systems.
  • Upgrading alarm systems, including intruder alarms, and fire alarms.
  • Building accessible and inclusive playground equipment at elementary schools.
  • Security upgrades providing access control for school entrances.

Replacements & Improvements

  • Boiler replacements; some boilers are original to the school building, and some are over 20 years old.
  • Build new synthetic track and field at Mill Creek Middle School, as well as high school synthetic fields. 
  • Replace flooring including old, outdated, and heavily trafficked areas.
  • Upgrade Transportation Fueling Center, in compliance with new code. 
  • Replace fridge and freezer emergency power at Central Kitchen. 

Access to Technology 

  • District learning devices for all students and staff; includes 1:1 tablets/laptops for each student.
  • Secondary student and teacher devices are refreshed every four years to optimize performance and battery life, whereas elementary devices can last longer and they are replaced as needed.
  • Replacement of the document camera system, which allows students and staff to project documents for classroom display. The current system is over 10 years old.
  • Refresh classroom displays; staff and students have access to interactive panels and touch screen devices where they can draw and write directly on the panel screen.
  • Internet connectivity for students to complete homework. 

Teaching & Learning Tools

  • KSD utilizes the complete Microsoft platform, including Outlook (district email system), Office 365 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), Teams for online communication as well as project management, and Microsoft's security suite. 
  • Skyward, our student information system. Families can access grades, email a teacher, find their student’s report card, report an absence, and much more. This system is the core of student information management.
  • Canvas, our student learning management system, which includes course materials, communication tools, participation and grades; used for day-to-day delivery of instruction for students.

Modernize Infrastructure

  • Updates to our district's phone system.
  • Classroom voice amplification systems so that all students can hear the teacher. 
  • Intercom systems – 50% of our schools’ intercom systems are either failing or components of the system are failing. The intercom system provides communication of information to students and staff in the school building, including safety situations. 
  • Update disaster recovery system for ransomware protection.  
  • Update infrastructure capable of connecting devices faster and more securely.

Teacher & Staff Professional Development

  • Project-Based Learning Training, providing engagement with real-world applications. 
  • Innovative Leaders Cohort, providing extra service time for educators. 
  • AI Training to stay abreast of AI advancements and best practices. 
  • Digital & Media Literacy Training to equip educators for responsible digital navigation. 

Cost to Taxpayers

The district is committed to full transparency about the costs of the proposed April Capital Projects & Technology Replacement Levy. Several charts and graphs are provided to help understand the projected impacts. 

Because the district failed both a bond and a capital levy last year, KSD taxes will be lower in calendar year 2024. As a result, an approved levy would mean taxes would increase in CY 2025. The intent of the April ballot measure is to “rebound” the overall taxing authority of the district back to previous levels, with an inflation-based increase going forward in 2025, 2026 and 2027.

Homeowner Tax Information

If the Capital Projects & Technology Replacement Levy is approved, we would expect the average homeowner to see an increase in their tax bill in years two and three of the levy of about $100.

The Capital Projects and Technology Replacement Levy would account for about one-third of that increase (about $34). The year one increase would be more substantial because of the previous levy failures; the “rebound” would be about $384.

  • Levy year 2025, rate per $1,000 is $1.36, levy amount is $60,900,000. 
  • Levy year 2026, rate per $1,000 is $1.36, levy amount is $63,400,000. 
  • Levy year 2027, rate per $1,000 is $1.36, levy amount is $65,900,000. 

It is important to note the district levies a dollar amount, not a rate. So if your property values increase or decrease, the amount the district can collect remains the same.

To help voters understand the impact of tax measures on their property tax rate, as well as their final tax bill, King County has developed the Tax Transparency Tool, which:

  • Calculates the estimated cost of property tax measures for each piece of property within the taxing district proposing the tax measure.  
  • Voters can look up the properties they own. 
  • Includes a link to the King County Elections website where voters can review the language of the ballot measures. 

Why is KSD Running Another Levy?

As we've stated previously, our KSD maintenance and facilities teams are the gold standard, taking excellent care of our buildings and supporting students daily. Funds from the Capital Projects & Technology Levy directly facilitate this continuous work from our passionate team. In short, these improvements and project efforts are possible through levy and bond funding.

The chart above, from our Bond Planning Task Force, speaks for itself. This thorough assessment systematically inspected and rated every building structure, system, and component. As a district, we strive to walk a path of constant improvement, including our buildings and curriculum. We want to see more of our schools be evaluated in the green zone, which is "good" or "excellent." 

According to the Washington State Supreme Court ruling in September, it's still the responsibility of school districts to rely on their community's tax dollars to build and maintain their facilities.

Learn More

Remember to Vote

Kent School District encourages everyone eligible to vote in every election to make their voices heard. Register to vote, and look for your ballot after April 3.

The deadline to vote in the April election is April 23.

Learn More

The Kentwood HVAC upgrade was completed during the Fall of 2023. This project included the unit in the PAC, the Main Gym, and the Small Gym.

The scope included removing the existing air handlers and replacing them with units that can provide both heating and cooling efficiently through condensers.

This project was part of the 2018 Levy and helps improve the air quality while also providing energy savings.

The Canyon Ridge synthetic turf installation, funded by the 2018 Capital & Technology Levy, began at the beginning of February. Added crews were deployed during the dry weather that we have seen over the last couple weeks.

Weather is a major factor on all work of the field project. Moderate rain over a long period of time and sudden heavy rain fall as well as freezing temperatures hamper the ability to install products to finish the project. The contractor has been using weekends to complete work if progress through the week is stopped due to weather conditions.

Goal posts will be installed over the next several weeks as well as the asphalt on the track barring any freezing and or snowy weather that would stop the placement of the track subsurface.

The Soos Creek Direct Digital Control (DDC) Upgrade from the 2016 Bond was completed in winter of 2024.

This work allows the lights, HVAC units, and other building systems to operate more efficiently and provides energy savings to the district.

The Energy Management System can be accessed by custodial staff and maintenance personnel to troubleshoot any issues as well.

The Grass Lake Flooring Replacement Project from the 2018 Levy was completed during summer 2023. This work included:

  • Abating vinyl composition tile (VCT), cleaning, and sealing concrete in storage closets and custodial spaces.
  • Removing all floor base, transitions, carpet, and vinyl.
  • Installing carpet in all classrooms, resilient rubber flooring in the gym and workrooms, and Spartacote in hallways.
  • Installing all new floor base and transitions.
2016 Bond Project List 
2018 Levy Project List 

Creativity by Design

Adam Jones

Adam Jones is a dedicated art teacher at Kentwood High School who positively impacts students and colleagues around him through creativity, intellect, and artistic expression. 

Tell me a little about yourself in a personal as well as a professional capacity. 

My name is Adam Jones. I am a 22 year veteran of the Kent School District and self-taught artist. I enjoy cooking, reading, exercise, spending time with family and of course creating and learning about art. I have taught everything from fifth grade (all subjects) to middle school, high school history and English language arts (ELA), film studies, adult writing seminars and art! I have also been a track, cross country and baseball coach. I also enjoy raising house plants and pets, including cats, dogs and chickens. 

How long have you worked for the Kent School District and what's the journey that brought you here?

This year marks 22 years in KSD. I graduated from Western Washington University (WWU) with a degree in African and Islamic History and did my Ed School through City University. Our cohort had a partnership with KSD. I began my career at Millennium Elementary for three years teaching fifth grade. I then spent a year at Northwood Middle School, and have spent the remaining time at Kentwood High School.

Have you always had a passion in your life for art?

Art has always been important to me. My mother, two grandparents and a great uncle were all artists to some capacity, so it was always encouraged. I considered getting a degree in visual art at WWU but decided on history instead. Throughout my career as a history and ELA teacher, I included visual arts projects and art history in my unit planning as well as maintaining it as a hobby.

What is the biggest reward in teaching students how to use their creativity to create works of art?

To me, teaching students both creative expression and problem solving are the most important and satisfying things that I teach, more than any content, artistic skills, or anything else. In real life, we need to know how to take creative risks, learn from inevitable failure and how to bounce back. People also need to know how to get from an idea or concept to a finished product, which is something that runs counter to our culture of instant gratification and instant rewards. Creating something meaningful takes time and more than one sitting or work session. The best reward I get is when students learn, internalize and begin to demonstrate these two things, especially in cases when they didn’t think that they could.

What technology do you utilize in the classroom to help students better learn the material?

We use Surface Pro laptops to access the Adobe Creative Cloud. Adobe products like Fresco, Photoshop and Illustrator are professional and industry standard applications that students get access to in our classrooms. Students learn skills in digital drawing, painting, design and illustration in addition to traditional art-making skills. While not electronic technology per se, there are always upgrades and innovations in traditional materials that I am able to utilize due to Career & Technical Education (CTE) funding. 

What benefits have you witnessed from the use of this technology?

Although I prefer traditional materials and paper over digital art and technology, using digital applications is growing on me! I love the portability of being able to have access to literally thousands of brushes, colors and textures in Fresco and Photoshop, as well as digital editing tools, all used by professionals. Another benefit I have found with incorporating technology into my Commercial Art and AP Drawing and Design curricula is that most of my students know more about using digital drawing apps than I do. This allows me and the students to switch roles so that I can learn from them. Since digital drawing classes for adults are nearly impossible to find, this is the best way for me to learn. It also allows us to have common language and opportunities to work together to solve artistic problems.


Students having access to professional equipment and software is also an equity issue. Our students will graduate and move on to the next level with a working understanding of software that is used by professionals in all visual arts industries.

What are you most looking forward to this year?

My goal and what I am most looking forward to for my art classes is to have instruction be 50/50% digital and traditional. I am almost there! It is my goal to get students comfortable using both and being able to make decisions about which is best for each project so that they can make their best work possible. I am also looking forward to continuing getting to work side by side with students to make cool stuff together! 

Do you have a student or staff member to feature in Foundations?

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