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ASD bond failing, MSD levies passing

 

February 21, 2018 | View PDF



It appears that both of the Marysville School District’s levy propositions have narrowly passed while the Arlington School District’s bond proposal has failed in the Feb. 13 special election.

Arlington School District Bond

As of Feb. 16, Arlington’s bond has 55.87 percent approval, however bonds require 60 percent approval to pass.

The $107 million bond would have constructed a new Post Middle School, built an eight-classroom expansion of Arlington High School and provided safety and security improvements to all schools in the district.

Because the district’s previous bond debt is expiring a new bond would not have meant an increase in the local tax rate.

“Of course I was hopeful that we would pass the bond,” said Arlington School District superintendent Chrys Sweeting.

“It had some important projects related to the safety and security of our students,” she said.

The facility advisory committee, which had helped shaped the bond proposal last year, plans to meet during the week of Feb. 19 to discuss options for the district moving forward.

“I am not sure what exactly the next steps will be for the district, but we will be having conversation about that,” said Sweeting.

The committee is comprised of parents, community members and staff members from the Arlington School District.

“I think one of the things we will likely do is ask the voters what hindered them for voting for the bond,” said Sweeting.

“Did they have specific projects they were concerned about or was their uncertainty about the taxes?” Sweeting suggested as two possible reasons voters did not approve the bond.

Sweeting said the district will continue to work with the facilities they have now to improve education and the security of the students.

“We will keep on working with our facilities to do what we must to keep kids safe,” she said.

Sweeting said she remains hopeful the district will be able to obtain the funds it needs in the future.

“I’m very grateful for everyone who took the time to vote,” she said. “No matter how they voted, it is important for people to engage with their schools in this way."

Marysville School District Levies

Marysville’s general education and technology/maintenance levies require only 50 percent to pass and received 51.21 percent approval and 52.2 percent approval respectively, as of Feb. 16.

Both levies replace former levies that are expiring.

The general education and operations levy does not represent an increase in tax rate, while the technology levy includes maintenance projects is an increase in the tax rate by an estimated $0.28 per $1,000 of assessed value over the former levy.

However, because Washington state is reducing local districts' ability to tax and increasing their own collections the 2018, property tax going to schools will increase while the following years will be a decrease of the rate in Marysville, even with the two levies.

The initial results showed both the district’s levies failing with around 48 to 49 percent of voters approving.

“We remained optimistic on election night as we were within striking distance,” said Emily Wicks, coordinator of communications at the district. “We were definitely a little worried though.”

The next two days trended upward for the votes though, until both levies were passing.

“On Feb. 15 we were 300 votes ahead on Proposition 1 so we were feeling wonderful,” said Wicks. “We wish there was more of a mandate from the voters, but we’re thankful that so many people voted and supported us."

If the district would have had to put the levy back onto the ballot it typically costs tens of thousands of dollars.

“It really means a lot we don’t have to put the levy back up. There is the issue of voter fatigue and it saves the taxpayers money,” said Wicks.

The general education levy is necessary for many of the school’s programs.

“Proposition 1 in particular represents 20 percent of our overall budget,” said Wicks.

Those funds go toward paying staff costs, extra-curricular, athletics and transportation that the state does not cover.

For example, the levy allows athletic programs that don’t require buy-in fees.

“It’s important for not putting the burden of those costs on our families,” said Wicks.

Proposition 2 continues the district’s technology efforts and provides some funds for building maintenance that will be used on roof replacements and heating system maintenance.

“We’re really looking forward to continue to grow our technology efforts,” said Wicks.

Snohomish County Elections will certify the election results on Feb. 23.

 

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