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Thursday, September 28, 2023
Sept. 28, 2023

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Voters to decide Washougal School levies

Special election ballot has two funds set to expire in 2023


Washougal School District voters will soon decide the fate of two levies that would help fund a bevy of school district programs, activities, athletics, technology, maintenance and safety needs not covered by state or federal funds.

The replacement enhanced programs and operations and capital levies appear on the Feb. 14 special election ballot. They would replace the current levies voters approved in 2020, both of which are set to expire Dec. 31, 2023.

The proposed enhanced programs levy rates for 2023-25 would be lower than the rates voters approved in 2020: $1.99 per $1,000 assessed property value in 2024, 2025 and 2026, down from $2.14 per $1,000 in 2021, 2022 and 2023. The levy is projected to collect $9.5 million in 2024, $10.5 million in 2025 and $11.5 million in 2026.

According to the school district, the replacement operations levy would provide funding for a variety of programs and services, including librarians, secretaries, paraeducators, textbooks, curriculum development, food service, the district’s AVID program, events for Spanish-speaking families, preschool, art, music, advanced placement classes, the district’s highly capable program, professional development and training, substitute teachers and classified staff, special education teachers and support staff, English language learner support, athletics, coaches, advisors, transportation, custodians, grounds and maintenance staff, fuel, vehicles, security staff, counselors, nurses and family community resource coordinators.

Starting in 2025, the funds also will increase opportunities for STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) and visual and performing arts, district leaders said.

District leaders have recommended keeping the replacement capital facilities and technology levy rate at 21 cents per $1,000 in assessed property value in 2024, then increasing it to 84 cents per $1,000 in 2025 and to 85 cents per $1,000 assessed property value in 2026, to help the district address several long-term maintenance and safety needs, including new security door access systems; a new roof at Washougal High School; new boilers and control systems for the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems in the district’s older buildings; new flooring; and doors at main building entrances that will comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The levy is projected to collect $950,000 in 2024, $3.95 million in 2025, and $4.15 million in 2026.

Ballots are due by 8 p.m. Feb. 14. The Clark County elections office began mailing ballots to all eligible registered voters Jan. 27.