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News / Politics / Clark County Politics

Washougal School District measures pass, Woodland Public Schools’ still uncertain

By Griffin Reilly, Columbian staff writer
Published: April 26, 2023, 4:21pm

Two critical replacement funding measures for the Washougal School District have passed with resounding support in Wednesday afternoon’s election update.

Uncertainty still mires Woodland Public Schools, however, which now trails by just 21 votes as of Wednesday afternoon with the addition of new Clark County votes. The next update from Cowlitz County, where the majority of the district’s voters live, won’t be available until Thursday afternoon.

Each of the three proposed measures would help to provide student programs and staff positions not fully funded by the state, such as nurses and counselors, some classroom teachers and extracurricular programs such as athletics.

Washougal victorious

Washougal’s Proposition 12 — the replacement educational programs and operations levy — has passed with 57.71 percent voting to approve after tallying another 2,364 votes across both Clark and Skamania counties Wednesday.

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 — has passed with 56.47 percent voting to approve after tallying another 2,314 votes Wednesday.

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.

The two measures combine to replace the district’s existing operations levy when it expires at the end of this year.

Having failed in the Feb. 14 special election earlier this year, this was Washougal’s last chance to pass these measures in order to begin levy collections by 2024. Had they failed, the district estimates it would have been forced to cut as many as 244 positions and millions of dollars of its annual budget, resulting in the loss of athletics and many other student programs.

Woodland still up in the air

Woodland Public Schools’ proposition 23-01 — the replacement educational operations levy — is failing with 49.7 percent voting to approve after adding just 144 votes from Clark County Wednesday.

The vast majority of remaining votes for Woodland will come from Cowlitz County in the coming days. Per Tuesday’s results, Cowlitz voters voted “no” at a higher rate than those in Clark County.

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

A second failure this year would require Woodland to make an estimated $3 million in cuts next year, according to the district.

Voter turnout as of Wednesday was at 47.16 percent of 14,887 eligible voters in Clark County and 44.13 percent of 2,044 eligible voters in Skamania County. Turnout data in Cowlitz County has not yet been made available.

The next round of ballots for Cowlitz County is expected sometime Thursday afternoon. No updates are expected to Clark County results until May 4.