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News / Clark County News

3 school districts’ operations levies OK’d; Hockinson technology levy fails

Hockinson, Ridgefield, Mount Pleasant held votes

By Adam Littman, Columbian Staff Writer
Published: May 3, 2019, 8:36pm

Final election results certified Friday confirm that Hockinson, Ridgefield and Mount Pleasant voters all approved school levies on April 23. However, Hockinson’s accompanying technology levy fell just short of passage.

Hockinson School District, Ridgefield School District and Mount Pleasant School District all saw replacement three-year operations levy pass. Hockinson’s three-year technology levy fell short with 49.08 percent in support. All measures needed a simple majority to pass.

The technology levy, which would have started in 2020, asked residents to pay an estimated 45 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, followed by 40 cents per $1,000 in 2021 and 36 cents per $1,000 in 2022. That money would have been used for technology refreshments, safety and security upgrades, heating and cooling improvements and capital improvements.

Hockinson’s replacement levy asked for $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value for all three years, which will be put toward keeping class sizes down and helping fund special education programs, extracurricular activities and athletics. That levy passed with 52.25 percent of the votes in favor.

Both levies had failed in February, and Hockinson was looking at a potential $1.5 million to $1.8 million shortfall in the upcoming school year if both failed again. Prior to the election, Superintendent Sandra Yager said the district should be OK budget-wise for the 2019-2020 school year should the replacement levy pass.

As part of the new state funding model for education, local levies were capped at $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value. However, an amended version of Senate Bill 5313 was approved by the stateLegislature, which lifted the cap on local school levies to $2.50 per $1,000 in assessed property value.

That bill passed after the election, so Ridgefield’s replacement three-year levy will be for $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value for all three years. Levy dollars are used for special education, additional support staff, extracurricular activities, outdoor school, professional development for staff and technology in Ridgefield. The district’s levy passed with 57.51 percent of the vote in support.

Mount Pleasant officials did something a little different in the April election. They asked voters to approve a replacement levy totaling $155,000 per year, which the district could only collect with estimated levy rates of $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.

Superintendent Vicki Prendergast said earlier this year the district can only collect what the state allows, but Mount Pleasant officials were hoping the Legislature would raise the cap at some point, meaning the district wouldn’t have to wait until the levy expires to start collecting more money.

Mount Pleasant’s levy passed with 56.52 percent of the vote in support. The K-8 district near Washougal with about 55 students received 92 total votes, six of which came from Clark County residents, who supported the levy by a vote of 4-2. The rest of the votes came from Skamania County.

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Columbian Staff Writer