Students in Highline School District hoping for new schools but it will cost taxpayers

BURIEN -- It’s now up to taxpayers in the Highline School District as to whether students there get new schools.

From afar, Highline High School doesn’t look too bad -- but once you get close, you can see how old the building really is.

Once inside it’s common to see gaping holes in the roof and cracks on the walls.

“The building has been through a few earthquakes,” school office manager Denice Gregory said.

But that's the least of their worries for the 90-year-old building.

“I know it doesn’t meet safety standards so that’s always a concern,” principal Vicki Fisher said.

“There is a leak in the gas line and so all the gas is turned off in the entire building,” biology teacher Dawn Tessandore said.

It limits what students learn in Tessandore’s biology class. For the chemistry teacher downstairs,
the challenge is the plumbing.

The boiler is as old as the building. It often breaks down and when it does students have no heat.

“We are out of heat probably two-thirds of the year,” sophomore Benji Box said.

“Everyone here is embarrassed about it,” sophomore Zee Hernandez said.

Students are desperate for a new school and a bond measure up for a vote next month is their only hope.

“Taxes in general, it’s a burden,” Colleen Asa said.

If it passes, an average homeowner in the Highline School District will have to pay about $220 a year in property taxes for four new buildings and other critical renovations.

Some are against the property tax increase. “There is a lot of ways to spread out the money, to be fair to everybody,” Asa said

The bond measure was about 250 votes shy of passing last year.

There was a 6 p.m. community meeting at Highline High School on Thursday for the community to ask questions about the bond measure.