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Jan. 27, 2023

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Woodland school levy on ballot

Voters to weigh in on replacement levy in special election

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WOODLAND — Voters in February will decide whether to keep helping the Woodland School District fund basic education, staff and extracurricular activities in schools.

Superintendent Michael Green said a replacement educational programs and operations levy on the Feb. 14 special election ballot would levy $2.05 per $1,000 of assessed property value — which for a property worth $364,000 would cost about $691 annually or $57 per month.

The proposed levy is lower than the one voters approved in 2020. That levy was for $2.37 per $1,000 assessed property value.

Woodland School District, which encompasses areas of both Clark and Cowlitz counties, would collect $5.9 million in 2024 from the replacement levy, $6.25 million in 2025 and $6.62 million in 2026.

Funds from the levy will also support transportation, building maintenance, special education funding and technology, Green said.

Green said if the levy does not pass, he will recommend to the school board to place it on the April ballot. If voters still choose to vote it down, he said they would likely have to slash 6 percent of the overall budget.

“When you consider that about 85 percent of our budget is staff alone, not only would we be cutting things like extracurriculars … but it would actually hit the classroom,” Green said. “We would see class sizes increasing. We would see fewer course offerings.”

An argument against the levy was included in this year’s voter pamphlet from the Cowlitz County Auditor’s Office, detailing how Woodland residents are facing record-high inflation and rises in rent and property taxes.

The argument also claimed that low test scores in the Woodland School District showed how more dollars does not equal better education.

“Most of us would love to continue supporting levies, but under the prevailing circumstances, many taxpayers of the district simply cannot afford to,” the argument reads.

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