Area voters OK levy requests

'Downward spiral' if levy does not pass says Supt. Scheibe

Levy will help kids

But according to the district, tax bills for schools would go down because under state law, Bethel's levy collection rate per $1,000 of assessed value rate is dropping.

An $18.9 million bond to provide school upgrades and improve student safety throughout the Colfax School District was approved Tuesday, with more than 70 percent of voters in favor.

The Orondo, Palisades and Waterville school districts have educational programs and operations tax levies up for renewal on the February 13 ballot.

Even if the bond passes, the district says the overall school tax rate would likely decline. As of Tuesday evening, there are an estimated 8,000 ballots left to be count.

Among the schools in Grant County, the Wahluke, Warden, Royal and Odessa school districts are asking voters to replace expiring educational programs and operations levies. The approved levy pays for critical needs, including teachers, staff, school nurses, safety and security officers, counselors, social workers, special education, Camp Waskowitz and athletics. "For many in this area, times are tough and we watch the gas gage going to and coming from town".

That's because the district's maintenance and operations levy is set to go down in 2019 because lawmakers a year ago capped local levies as part of a new funding plan for Washington's K-12 schools. The district ended previous year with a $6.9 million budget shortfall and relies on local levies for about 20 percent of its overall budget.

Even with rising enrollment - MVSD stands at about 1,291 students now - the rise in ADA (average daily attendance) funds will not cover what was lost from discontinued SRS (secure rural schools or "forest" funds). In Chelan County eight voters, or 100 percent were in favor.

Fife's and Northshore's bonds measures were passing in early returns; Lake Washington's bond measure had 53 percent of the vote, which doesn't meet the minimum approval.

Last year's supplemental levy ($2,663,246) has now expired. "We recognize that with all of the legislative changes this was a confusing election and that there may still be questions that need to be answered".

"We encourage all of our patrons to come visit the schools and to contact us if they have any questions", said Glenewinkel.

The educational programs levy is $1.27 per $1,000 valuation. "Those ballots will get counted on Friday, and if things go as they have in the past, our yes vote percentage will go up by quite a bit", Superintendent Steve McCullough said Wednesday morning.

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