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News / Politics / Election

Mount Pleasant running a three-year replacement levy

By Adam Littman, Columbian Staff Writer
Published: April 8, 2019, 6:05am

School district officials are generally hopeful when they run a levy, but perhaps no local school district officials are as hopeful as those in the Mount Pleasant School District, a K-8 district at the entrance of the Columbia River Gorge near Washougal with about 55 students.

As part of the new state funding model for education, local levies are capped at $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value. In the replacement three-year maintenance and operations levy Mount Pleasant is running on April 23, the district is asking for $155,000 per year. The estimated levy rate to get the district there is $3.53 per $1,000 of assessed value in 2020, $3.48 per $1,000 in 2021 and $3.43 per $1,000 in 2022.

“We’ll only be allowed to collect what the law allows,” Superintendent Vicki Prendergast said. “There is legislation that may change that, so we wanted to have that flexibility.”

By asking for more than the law allows, the school board would be able to raise collections if the state Legislature raises the cap. That’s currently one option being discussed in Olympia, where legislators are dealing with complaints that local school districts are facing budget deficits.

The district’s voter-approved 2019 levy rate for 2019 would have been $2.91 before the levies were capped. That amount would have brought in roughly $155,000 for Mount Pleasant, according to Kristin Correll, business manager for Educational Service District 112, which works with the district. With the changes to the levy cap, the district is anticipating collecting approximately $79,988 for the 2019 calendar year, a loss of about $75,000.

If the levy cap remains the same, Mount Pleasant estimates collecting a little more than $84,400 in 2020 and a little more than $87,400 in 2021 and 2022, according to Correll.

“We’re doing OK financially,” Prendergast said. “The levy would really help. Without the levy (in general), we’ll have to really tighten our belts.”

Levy dollars are used for music, art, enrichment activities, the district’s highly capable student program, swim lessons, some instructional costs and ongoing facility maintenance, Prendergast said.

Columbian Staff Writer