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District to ask voters to replace levy in 2016

Shelton-Mason County Journal of Shelton, Washington

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The current levy which pays for teachers, maintenance is set to expire in a year

The North Mason School District is preparing to ask voters to update a school levy next year.

School board members last week approved a proposition that will allow the district to request a replacement school and education levy be instated in 2017.

If approved, the levy would collect $4,654,330 total each year, starting in 2017 and running through 2020, according to a presentation by district accountant Cathie Seevers at the board meeting.

The levy requires a simple majority, or 50 percent plus one vote "yes," to pass.

The amount each taxpayer in the district pays is based on the assessed value of their property. The district expects to collect $2.36 per $1,000 of assessed value of property in future years.

Voters approved the current levy in 2009 and again in 2012. Based on the assessed value of properties in the district, the levy collected $2.21 per $1,000 of assessed value of the home in 2015. That number is expected to increase in 2016 to $2.36 per $1,000, as property values have decreased.

The current levy is set to expire at the end of 2016.

Superintendent Dana Rosenbach said the district would use the levy to continue its current operations and update some technology.

"We are only asking for maintenance," she said during the Nov. 24 board meeting. "We want taxpayers to know that we respect all that you've done (for the district) and don't want to take advantage of that."

The majority of the levy goes to pay 13 teachers' salaries, as well as help pay for technology, facilities maintenance and supplies.

The school district must file a resolution with the state by Dec. 11 in order to bring the levy to voters next year.

Seevers reported that 284 of 295 Washington school districts use a levy.

In the past, North Mason

School District has used the levy to supplement the cost of phone systems, interactive projectors and technology support, according to Seevers' presentation.

In future years, funds from the levy would be used to upgrade wireless Internet, install interactive projectors and add a technology support position.

Funding from the levy made up 18 percent of the school district's budget this year.

In November, the school district sent out electronic surveys to community members who would be affected by the levy to ask for input.

Seevers said 184 people responded.

In general, Seevers said the results of the survey showed the community would support renewing the levy.

Nearly 53 percent of re-sponders said they would support a four-year replacement levy, while 20 percent said they would support a levy for two years.

In another question, more than 57 percent of responders said they would support the same tax rate; 23 percent said they would not, but might support a smaller rate.

"We feel we have a pretty good support from the community," Seevers said. "They responded that they'd like to keep the levy dollars flowing."

More than 80 percent of those responding said they were a registered voter in the North Mason School District.

During the school board's October meeting, Rosenbach clarified that while state Legislature had discussed bills that would allow schools to get rid of the levy system, there is no legislation currently in place to allow that.

"Nobody in our state is in the position to do that," Rosenbach said during the October meeting. "To do so would cripple our schools."

Rosenbach said that if the state does pass legislation that allows state-funded schools to get rid of levies, the school would simply stop collecting those taxes the year the bill went into effect.


Current levy—

Approved in 2009 and replaced 2012

Collected $2.21 per $1,000 of assessed value of a home in 2015

Will expire Dec. 31, 2016

Levy made up 18 percent of revenues for the 2015-16 district budget Proposed replacement levy —

Vote will occur Feb. 9; requires 50 percent plus one vote "yes" to pass

Would run from January 2017 to December 2020

Levy amount set for $4,654,330

Collect about $2.36 per $1,000 of assessed value of property in future years

Copyright 2015 Shelton-Mason County Journal, Shelton, Washington. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: December 3, 2015

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