Wednesday, January 8, 2014/lk
The Pateros, Brewster, Omak and Tonasket school districts are each asking voters to approve maintenance and operations levies, and Okanogan is seeking a technology levy.
Ballots for the Feb. 11 special election will be mailed Jan. 24 and must be postmarked by the day of the election.
In Pateros, the annual amount would be $664,000 for four years, or $2.99 per $1,000 of assessed property value starting in the 2015-2016 school year.
“Depending on the value of the property, that cost per thousand will go down a little bit over those four years,” Superintendent Lois Davies said. The current tax rate for the two-year levy last approved by voters is $2.69 per $1,000.
“By doing the four-year levy, it will give voters a sense of stability. They will know what they are getting for four years for that set amount,” Davies said, noting that it will also save on election costs. “And it will allow us to better take care of those basic (education) costs.
“The state of Washington is not adequately funding basic education, and communities are still doing their part with levies. We work real hard to use our dollars well and to be fiscally conservative with them and to take care of the investment the community has already made.”
The levy pays for classroom supplies like textbooks, support for extracurricular activities, utilities, curriculum and wages for some employees, in addition to basic facility maintenance.
Brewster School District estimates its replacement levy of nearly $1.1 million is higher than the current one but will be cheaper for the individual, going from $3.12 per $1,000 two years ago to $2.87 in 2015.
“The biggest change for us is, the district sent out a survey earlier this fall asking constituents if they would prefer a two-year or four-year levy,” Superintendent Eric Driessen said. “Overwhelmingly the response was a four-year levy, so that is what we have on the ballot.”
Omak is also putting forth a four-year levy request.
If the levy passes in February 2014, the district would begin collecting in 2015 and the total collection amount would be $2,150,000 — a decrease of $152,571 each year compared to the current levy in place.
Tonasket has a bond request and a levy on the upcoming ballot.
The bond seeks $6 million over 11 years, while the levy is for two years at $1.64 million.
The total increase in taxes would be 71 cents per $1,000 in assessed valuation if both were to pass.
Okanogan is seeking a two-year $271,389 replacement levy for technology purchases. The projected rate is 98 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation.