School levies have mixed success in special election

Levies pass in Washougal and Woodland, fail in Mount Pleasant

By Stevie Mathieu, Columbian assistant metro editor

Published:

Updated: February 11, 2014, 9:40 PM

 

Voters Tuesday appeared to approve two Washougal School District levies, one to pay for new technologies and the other to pay for school maintenance and operations, according to preliminary results in the special election.

Meanwhile, a maintenance and operations levy in the Woodland School District was passing Tuesday night, but a similar levy in the Mount Pleasant School District was failing. The levies in all three districts would replace expiring levies.

Voters in the Washougal School District approved the technology levy by a broad margin, 61.13 percent to 38.87 percent, according to preliminary results. A simple majority of more than 50 percent was needed for the levy to pass.

The technology levy would raise property taxes to 37 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value in 2015. That rate drops to 35 cents in 2016 and 34 cents in 2017. The district’s existing technology levy is 13 cents per $1,000 of assessed home value.

The Washougal levies will help the district expand its tablet devices program, enhance school safety and provide all-day kindergarten at all of its elementary schools, Washougal Superintendent Dawn Tarzian said.

“We’re very optimistic at this point,” she said of Tuesday night’s election numbers. “My experience is the Washougal community supports its youth, and their future is a high priority.”

Washougal’s maintenance and operations levy was passing by a smaller margin Tuesday night. That levy had approval from 57.91 percent of voters in the school district. It would raise property taxes from $2.79 to $3.31 per $1,000 of assessed property during a three-year period, 2015 to 2017.

The Woodland and Mount Pleasant school districts also put maintenance and operations levies on the ballot for the Tuesday election. Woodland’s levy was passing Tuesday night with 53.29 percent of the vote. Mount Pleasant’s levy was failing with just 45.24 percent of the vote.

In Woodland, the levy would raise property taxes to $2.96 per $1,000 of assessed property value in 2015. That rate drops to $2.88 in 2016 and $2.79 in 2017. The district’s current maintenance and operations levy rate is $2.45 per $1,000 of assessed home value.

In Mount Pleasant, the levy would raise property tax to $3.85 per $1,000 of assessed property value in 2015 before dropping to $3.78 in 2016. The current levy rate is $2.44 per $1,000 of assessed home value.

The Woodland School District includes voters from Clark and Cowlitz counties. The Mount Pleasant district includes voters from Clark and Skamania counties.

Turnout low

In Clark County, 11,326 voters were eligible to take part in the special election. On Tuesday, 2,792 Clark County ballots had been counted, a 24.65 percent voter turnout. The county had anticipated a 38 percent turnout.

Voters had to postmark their ballots by Tuesday, so more ballots could trickle in this week. Clark County elections officials estimate they'll receive another 500 ballots.