The district hired a communications team charged with mounting an aggressive effort to find solutions to airport-related noise. The team, working with the superintendent and school board, developed a plan to create awareness about the problem and lead the District through a process that would result in an eventual solution. The plan, simply known as A Sound Environment for Education, was a nine-month effort to determine the impact of aircraft noise on the schools and students. It also included steps to determine actual mitigation costs and responsibilities. A sound analysis of 16 District schools was conducted over a five-month period. Results of the study were used to determine architectural and engineering solutions and costs that would ensure a sound learning environment at each of the 16 schools
By taking charge of a situation that had gone unsolved for 25 years, Highline School District generated much interest and respect among stakeholders ranging from local constituents to regional elected officials. Most important, the District got the attention of the FAA, the Port of Seattle (the public agency directly responsible for aircraft noise mitigation), the governor, the legislature and Highline citizens. As a result, the District and all parties concerned arrived at a $200 million, four-party solution to the problem. Each party, including the Port of Seattle, the FAA, Washington State and the Highline School District, agreed to put up $50 million dedicated to aircraft noise mitigation. The agreement was validated with the passage of the District’s $189 million bond levy.
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