The Marysville School Board unanimously approved sending to voters in February a $120 million levy measure to rebuild two schools and add security improvements to other schools.
The board approved the proposal at their Oct. 21 meeting.
The $120 million levy will appear on the Feb. 11, 2020, ballot for Marysville School District voters.
The funds would be collected over six years and would mean an increase in property tax of about $1.92 per $1,000 assessed property value.
The levy funds would allow the school district to replace Cascade and Liberty Elementary and make various security improvements around the district.
District staff estimate the cost to replace those two schools to be $126 million to $127 million and they also estimate the district would receive around $13 million in matching funds from the state.
School board president Pete Lundberg said the board was in agreement that the levy was a good way forward for the district.
“We spent two work study sessions looking at all the different facets of this proposal,” he said. “So when it came time to take a vote, it was unanimous.”
The district’s facilities committee, primarily made of community members, brought the levy proposal before the school board.
“We have had a facilities committee for a number of years that has been working with the district,” said Lundberg. “They came up with a list a few years ago of the district’s priority needs."
That committee was reconvened recently to consider how to address the building needs of the district.
“This facility committee reviewed the list of what was needed to be done, and they picked the two schools that they felt had the greatest need,” said Lundberg.
The two schools to be replaced were built in the 1950s. Lundberg said that building codes have changed considerably since those times and now require much more safety features that Cascade and Liberty lack.
“Cascade just had multiple fires due to old wires,” said Lundberg.
“The levy would also provide some safety and security upgrades to all schools around the district,” he said.
The district is moving forward with a capital levy, which requires 50 percent to approve, instead of a bond which requires 60 percent by state law.
Levies are taxes collected over a period of time, while bonds resemble a mortgage or a loan in that the district receives the money up front and pays it off over a long period of time.
The Marysville School District has not passed a bond since 2006.
Their last attempt in April 2016 was for a $230 million project that would have replaced more schools, but it failed as it only received 50.53 percent of voter’s approval.
Lundberg said that the board has been trying to rebuild trust with the community over the last few years.
“That has been one of the goals of the school board over the last four or five years,” he said. “At the time [five years ago] there was a disconnect between the district and the people we served."
He hopes that the levy is another opportunity for the board to advance schools and listen to parents' concerns.
“Not only can we replace the schools in a fiscally responsible manner, but we can attend to the needs of the students,” he said.
“It’s time for the Marysville School District and community members to get together for the needs of the students here,” he said.