Battle Ground levy appears to have passed

By Dave Kern, Columbian assistant metro editor

Published:

Updated: April 24, 2013, 10:21 AM

 
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Special Election Results

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photoSupporters of the Battle Ground Public Schools levy erupt in celebration as election returns show 54 percent approval on Tuesday. They had gathered at Mill Creek Pub in Battle Ground.

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Battle Ground School Funding

Current levy

• 2013: $22.6 million, which costs taxpayers an estimated $4.25 per $1,000 of assessed property value. For the owner of a $200,000 home, this costs $70.83 per month, or $850 annually.

Levy request

Required to pass: Simple majority, or 50 percent plus one

• 2014: $24.4 million, which would cost taxpayers an estimated $4.49 per $1,000 of assessed property value. For the owner of a $200,000 home, this will cost $74.83 per month ($4 more per month than the 2013 levy or $898 per year — $48 more per year than the 2013 levy).

• 2015: $25.4 million, for an estimated $4.52 per $1,000.

• 2016: $26.3 million, for an estimated $4.51 per $1,000.

• 2017: $27.3 million, for an estimated $4.46 per $1,000.

Only 13 minutes after the polls closed Tuesday night, volunteer Kelly ­Hinton shouted, “Fifty-four ­percent!”

Cheers and clapping erupted in the party room at Mill Creek Pub in Battle Ground, where more than 80 school levy supporters had gathered to await results of Tuesday’s special election.

Voters in Battle Ground passed its four-year maintenance and operations levy by 54.01 percent, according to unofficial returns Tuesday night.

“To all the volunteers, we have a school district because of you!” said John Idsinga, school board chair.

Vicki Sparks, chair of Battle Ground Citizens for Better Schools, stood on a chair and said, “So she’s all gassed up for four years and ready to go!”

More cheers erupted.

Tuesday’s special election was the second try at the levy.

On February 12, Battle Ground was the only school district of 41 in the state that saw its maintenance and operation levy fail. When the levy failed in February, only 46.55 percent of voters approved the levy. This time around, an additional 1,889 voters supported the levy. And voter turnout increased from 41.35 percent to 44.77 percent.

Sparks said what made the difference during this time was “sheer manpower. The number of volunteers. Lots of organizing. Great tools.”

“We had 250 to 300 callers working, and the last two weeks, they’ve been calling six days a week,” Amy Wright, a second-grade teacher at Glenwood Heights Primary and a vice president of the Battle Ground Education Association, said. “Without those volunteers, we wouldn’t have been able to reach those voters.”

Shonny Bria, the district’s superintendent told the crowd. “We have a school district. To another 100 years!”

Susan Parrish: 360-735-4515; http://twitter.com/Col_Schools; susan.parrish@columbian.com