Learning, Libraries & Recreation Ballot Measures

Learning, Libraries and Recreation Ballot Measures

The City of Spokane and Spokane Public Schools have joined together to develop an unprecedented partnership, designed to build community, support healthy neighborhoods, and create value for the citizens they both serve.

These partners have developed a plan that would deliver a wide array of educational and recreational facilities and programs dispersed throughout the neighborhoods of the City, creating places for positive activity that support healthy youth, families, and community, while also creating jobs, growth, and economic opportunity.

The plan uses an integrated approach that leverages a variety of resources, including dollars, land, facilities, and programs, to stretch the buying power of citizens' dollars.

Taking advantage of a change in how the State of Washington funds public education, citizens would see a significant decrease in their property taxes, while still allowing for the proposed major investment in learning, literacy, and recreation.

The Ballot Items

The plan includes three proposals that would be voted on by citizens:

  • A $495.3 million bond issue by Spokane Public Schools that would include 3 new middle schools; 3 replacement middle schools; updates at Lewis & Clark High School, Libby Center, and On Track Academy; safety and technology updates; and funding for a stadium replacement. See the information provided by Spokane Public Schools.
  • A $77 million issue by the City of Spokane that would include three new libraries and four library modernization projects. See the information provided by Spokane Public Library.
  • A City of Spokane advisory vote that asks voters whether they would like to see a high school replacement stadium built at the current site of Albi Stadium or in a centralized location on the North Bank, adjacent to the Spokane Arena and planned new Sportsplex.


The cost of the plan will be paid for through property taxes. The State of Washington is changing how it funds public education, which includes a drop in the tax of $2.20 per $1,000 of assessed value (AV).

The City and Schools are asking citizens to split the savings between their household budgets and an investment in learning, literacy, and recreation.

The plan will cost about $0.98 per $1,000 AV, including $0.79 for schools and $0.19 for libraries. Taxpayers would retain about $1.22 per $1,000 AV. An owner of $200,000 home would see a tax reduction of $244 a year under the plan.

A Closer Look at the Components

The three proposed ballot measures include a variety of school, library, and recreational facilities. These projects are designed to work together, boosting the benefits. These projects rely on pooling varied resources of the partners to create a total package of improvements within neighborhoods. The projects would be built over about six years. In all, the projects total around $600 million. Each $1 million in construction generates about 20 to 25 jobs, so the projects would generate about 2,000 to 2,500 jobs a year.

Schools. This measure would allow for the construction of additional schools to meet requirements for smaller classes while accommodating enrollment growth in Spokane Public Schools. The measure includes use of City property in desirable locations to site new schools and avoid the added expense of buying new school sites.

Additionally, the plan would include modernizing or replacing old schools to allow for an improved learning environment and improved school safety for all students. The plan also includes additional space for School District option programs, which have proven very popular with parents as they seek out programs that meet the learning styles of their children.

Funding to replace Albi Stadium in Northwest Spokane at the same location is included in this measure. The new stadium would have approximately 5,000 seats.

Libraries. This measure would develop an updated library system that's geared toward the future. The last major investment in the City's libraries occurred through a bond measure passed in 1990, nearly 30 years ago. Since then, the City's population has grown by 20 percent and use of libraries has continued to accelerate.

Libraries today are places of activity, not passive check out of books or research materials. They are community gathering places; attendance at library events is up 100 percent. And, they are places where citizens can access technology and prepare for careers. These next-gen library uses require more space and better use of that space. This measure updates libraries in four locations and adds three new libraries and will vastly improve the customer experience.

Recreation. Citizens have an opportunity to weigh in on a final location for a new multi-use stadium. A new multi-use outdoor sports stadium would support everything from soccer, football and lacrosse to marching band tournaments. An economic analysis of the possible locations was completed.

In a central location, the stadium would:

  • Be more centrally located for all SPS schools and work in concert with other facilities on the North Bank.
  • Generate about $60,000 more in direct visitor spending and cover its own operating expenses.
  • Allow for additional fields and economic activity at Merkel complex.
  • Require additional parking to be built on the North Bank.

A replacement of the stadium at Albi would:

  • Continue the use of the location that citizens are used to.
  • Provide sufficient parking to accommodate high school games.
  • Require an annual operating subsidy of about $100,000 a year.