Battle Ground school board to discuss potential cuts Thursday

District looking at $16.4M in reductions if April 23 levy fails

By Susan Parrish, Columbian education reporter

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Find more details about Battle Ground’s levy at Battle Ground Citizens for Better Schools

Battle Ground school board members will meet at 5 p.m. Thursday to begin considering where to make $16.4 million in budget cuts in the 2013-14 school year if the April 23 levy fails.

The public meeting will be at the former Lewisville School, Building C, 406 N.W. Sixth Ave., Battle Ground. The meeting "is expected to run late into the night," said Gregg Herrington, district spokesman.

Of the 41 school maintenance and operations levies on the Feb. 12 Washington ballot, Battle Ground's was the only one that failed.

The April 23 vote is the second try at the levy. If it fails again, state law prohibits the district from making another levy request this year.

Administrators say that between $16 million and $17 million must be cut from the district's budget in both the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years.

The levy would replace an expiring M&O levy, which also qualifies the district for state equalization funds for districts with lower-than-average assessed property values.

The amount requested is $24.42 million in 2014, with an estimated tax rate of $4.49 per $1,000 of assessed property value. In 2015, the amount is $25.35 million at an estimated rate of $4.52; $26.3 million and $4.51 in 2016; and $27.25 million and $4.46 in 2017.

If the April 23 levy passes, the district would not need to make the cuts.

The April 23 levy will need a simple majority to pass. The final results from the Feb. 12 attempt showed 7,437 yes votes, or 46.55 percent, and 8,539 no votes, or 53.45 percent.

Ballots should be mailed to eligible voters around April 1.

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