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Islanders to be polled on school bond

Professional pollsters will survey 250 Island voters in the first two weeks of October in an effort to determine where residents stand on a proposed multimillion-dollar bond measure to remodel and rebuild portions of Vashon High School.

CFM, a Portland-based polling firm whose clients include the University of Washington and 60 school districts in Idaho, Oregon and Washington, will undertake the survey for the Vashon Island School District and its five-member board. The poll will cost $7,500 — a fee the district already paid when it hired Seattle-Northwest Securities, a bond underwriting firm, to help the district fashion a possible bond measure, said Anne Atwell, the school district’s communications consultant.

The firm expects to have results delivered to the board by Oct. 23. The board hopes to make a decision in November about the kind of proposal it will put before voters for a February 2009 vote.

The board is currently considering two options — one that would entail only an extensive remodel of several buildings and another that would entail not only remodels but also the erection of a new, 40,000-square-foot structure that would serve as the high school’s primary classroom building. The board is also trying to decide whether other amenities should be included in the final package — from the building of a new track to an upgrade to the high school’s theater.

The professional survey represents one of the last efforts on the school board’s part to determine whether voters will support a bond measure for a capital construction project. Board members have also held forums, staffed a booth at the Saturday Farmers Market and met with the boards of several Island organizations.

Board members have said they’re attempting a thorough outreach effort to ensure that there’s some measure of public support before they undertake the costs of putting a bond measure on the ballot.

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