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News / Politics / Clark County Politics

Schools measures passing in Washougal, trailing in Woodland

By Griffin Reilly, Columbian staff writer
Published: April 25, 2023, 9:06pm

Funding measures for two small districts in Southwest Washington saw a mixed bag of results Tuesday, with two levies in the Washougal School District strongly leading in initial returns and a measure in Woodland Public Schools trailing by 37 votes.

For each district, the levies would continue to support significant portions of their annual budgets — primarily salaries for some classroom teachers, paraeducators, nurses and counselors and extracurricular activities like performing arts and athletics. Each measure requires a simple majority to pass.

Both districts saw each of these same measures fail earlier this year at the Feb. 14 special election. Were they to fail a second time, Washougal and Woodland would be unable to run said measures at another election this year and be without millions of dollars in additional funding in 2024.

Washougal measures passing

The Washougal School District’s Proposition 12, the replacement educational programs and operations levy, is passing with 57.22 percent voting to approve among 4,993 ballots reviewed by Tuesday night. The district includes voters in both Clark and Skamania counties.

If it passes, the levy is expected to collect $31.5 million over 2024, 2025 and 2026 at an estimated rate of $1.99 per $1,000 assessed property value.

Washougal’s Proposition 13 — the replacement capital levy for educational technology, health and safety improvements — is passing with 56.18 percent voting to approve. That measure is expected to collect $9.05 million over three years at an estimated rate of 21 cents per $1,000 assessed property value in 2024, 84 cents per $1,000 in 2025 and 85 cents per $1,000 in 2026. Proposition 13 would largely cover a replacement for the roof at Washougal High School, among other small upgrade projects throughout the district.

If the measures fail, the district estimates it would have to make a 20 percent budget reduction across the board, amounting to a loss of an estimated 244 positions and millions of dollars allocated to school extracurricular programs.

Woodland measure trailing

Woodland Public Schools’ Resolution 23-01, the replacement educational operations levy, is narrowly failing with 49.44 voting to approve, 1,634 to 1,671. The district includes voters in both Clark and Cowlitz counties.

If it were to pass, the measure would collect $18.77 million over three years at an estimated rate of $1.91 per $1,000 assessed property value.

Like Washougal’s measures, Woodland’s levy would replace the existing measure voters approved in 2021 when it expires at the end of this year.

District leaders estimate that were it to fail again, Woodland would be forced to cut an estimated $3 million from their 2023-2024 budget, mostly to extracurricular programs and support staff.

Voter turnout as of Tuesday evening was at 31.69 percent among 14,887 registered voters in Clark County and 33.37 percent among 2,044 registered voters in Skamania County. Turnout data was not available for Cowlitz County Tuesday night. An estimated 2,500 votes are still left to count in Clark County. Just 50 are left to count in Skamania, and an estimate for Cowlitz was not available Tuesday night.

The next round of ballots in Clark County will be released at 3 p.m. Wednesday, followed by Skamania at 5 p.m. Wednesday and sometime Thursday for Cowlitz.

Griffin Reilly: 360-735-4517; griffin.reilly@columbian.com; twitter.com/griflewisreilly