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Jan. 21, 2022

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Hockinson school board approves operations levy for February ballot

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:

The Hockinson school board unanimously voted Monday to approve an operations levy to be placed on the Feb. 8 special election ballot.

If passed, the proposed levy would replace the district’s current three-year Education Programs and Operation levy, which is set to expire at the end of 2022. The proposed levy would last four years at a rate of $1.89 per $1,000 assessed property value, compared with the previous rate of $1.50 per $1,000 assessed property value.

Like other levies recently approved and passed in Battle Ground, Evergreen and elsewhere in Southwest Washington, this levy would allow for the continuation of a number of educational programs and services that the state does not fund.

Those programs include extracurricular activities, such as after-school clubs and athletics; performing arts programs, such as band and theater; staffing in health and safety services; transportation; and special education services. Financial strain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has put these programs at risk.

“There is a belief that the state fully funds public schools and that is simply not the case,” Hockinson School District Superintendent Steve Marshall said in a press release Tuesday. “Local levies are essential in providing things like athletics, theater, band, clubs, transportation, adequate nursing staff and special education. Without local levy support these opportunities and services would not be available to our students.”

In 2019, the levy initially failed in a February special election, with 52.52 percent of voters saying “no.” Voters then passed the levy in an April election, with 52.25 percent in support.

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