School District Bond Passage

Client: Ridgefield School District

Location: Ridgefield, Washington

Rapid population growth in Ridgefield, Washington, was putting pressure on the Ridgefield School District (District), whose existing facilities were not adequate to support the recent influx of new students. Four bond measures to approve the purchase of land for new facilities for the District had failed, many existing buildings had deferred maintenance because of budget constraints and the economic downturn, and there was a mounting perception among the public that the standards of education were in decline. To address these challenges, the District would require a researched plan to inform ongoing decision making to ensure the success of their current and future students.

To supplement the District’s adopted Capital Facilities Plan, Maul Foster & Alongi, Inc. (MFA) conducted a demographic and available-land-use analysis and assisted with community outreach activities. The land use analysis involved short-term and 20-year (long-term) projections to consider specific growth areas and available, buildable lands. Community outreach events included individual stakeholder interviews, a stakeholder group meeting, and a public open house. The events helped the District arrive at a consensus for prioritizing improvements to their facilities and their vision for development.

Outreach activities encouraged community members to step forward and lend their voices to planning the District’s expansion. MFA was able to provide an avenue for Ridgefield residents to establish their vision on the principles that they believed should guide decision making. The community determined that a priority for the District should be the integration of partnerships with parents and local businesses, nonprofits, and government entities to give students real-life experience before they graduate. In 2012, Ridgefield voters approved a $47 million bond measure to improve classrooms, athletic fields, traffic flow, and other infrastructure issues. With a solid map to guide expansion and a framework of community priorities, the District is now well-equipped to facilitate ongoing growth in the area.

With help from MFA, the Ridgefield School District

  • Approved $47 million bond measure for District upgrades
  • Achieved a unified vision for ongoing improvement efforts
  • Has improved relationships and increased lines of communication between the District and the community
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