Green Mountain, Hockinson, Woodland levies pass

By Ray Legendre, Columbian staff writer

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Area voters overwhelmingly supported levy-renewal proposals for the Green Mountain, Hockinson and Woodland school districts during Tuesday’s special election, according to unofficial results from Clark and Cowlitz counties.

Elsewhere, voters in Skamania County passed the first-ever levy in the Stevenson-Carson School District.

Levies are taxes assessed on property owners to help pay for daily maintenance, operations of schools and other programs not paid for by the state or federal governments . Levies require 50 percent plus one vote to pass. Voting wrapped at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Levies were particularly important this year, officials said, because a statewide $1 billion shortfall could lead to significant education cuts for the 2012-2013 school year. The Washington Legislature is weighing several potential cuts, including one to levy equalization dollars, which aid districts that collect less from property tax dollars.

HOCKINSON

Hockinson was the only school district to have two levies on Clark County’s ballot.

The district’s two four-year levies will pay the difference between state payment allocations and actual operating costs, plus fund technology and school improvements. The operating levy received 1,221 “yes” votes, or 60.42 percent, as opposed to 800 “no” votes, or 39.58 percent.

The technology and school improve-ments levy was contingent on the operations levy passing. The second levy passed with 1,206 votes in favor, or 59.85 percent, versus 809 votes against, or 40.15 percent.

For the operating levy, Hockinson residents must pay $3.90 per $1,000 of assessed home value in 2013 and 2014, before paying $3.86 and $3.82 in 2015 and 2016, respectively. The technology and school improvements levy will cost residents 59 cents per $1,000 in 2013, 2014 and 2015, and 58 cents in 2016.

GREEN MOUNTAIN

Green Mountain’s four-year levy proposal was the only one in Clark County to clear 70-percent support. The measure received 171 votes in favor, or 70.95 percent, against 70 “no” votes, or 29.05 percent.

The levy for the district near Woodland will stay at $3.70 per $1,000 for its entire four-year run. The K-8 district will receive $400,000 annually, or around 30 percent of its daily operation budget, from the levy, according to a district handout.

WOODLAND

Voters in Clark and Cowlitz counties supported Woodland’s two-year levy by a combined margin of 1,338 to 959, or 58.2 percent to 42.8 percent. Just a small portion of the district falls in Clark County.

Woodland’s two-year levy will require residents to pay $2.45 per $1,000 in 2013 and then $2.56 per $1,000 in 2014, according to the proposal. The district’s levy rate in 2012 is $2.33 per $1,000.

Woodland is expected to collect $3.25 million from the levy in 2013. The money will provide for staffing, textbooks, transportation and extracurricular activities.

STEVENSON-CARSON

The Stevenson-Carson School District’s levy, designed to make up for dwindling federal timber payments, received the support of 1,164 voters, or 55.1 percent. It will raise $1.5 million annually for the next three years.

The district cut $800,000 in spending over the last two years and is currently cutting another $1.5 million. Even with the levy’s passage, it will have to cut an additional $500,000 next year, officials have said.

-- Ray Legendre, Jacques Von Lunen