Local school districts and the Tulalip Bay Fire District had measures on the Feb. 11 ballot and it was a mixed bag of passes and failures.
Marysville and Lakewood levies were shot down by voters while Arlington levies are passing, but their bond measure is not.
The Tulalip Bay Fire District also received a strong passing vote for their EMS levy.
Marysville School District
The Marysville School District’s Capital levy would have allowed the district to replace Liberty and Cascade elementary schools, as well as make security improvements around the district.
As of Feb. 14, 58.6 percent of ballots counted were against the levy.
“The Marysville School District is deeply saddened for our students and community by the failure of the Capital Levy 2020 measure,” said Jodi Runyon, director of engagement and outreach at the Marysville School District.
Liberty Elementary and Cascade Elementary are the two oldest schools in the district and were built in the 1950s.
“We know that overall our Marysville and Tulalip community wants better schools. We also recognize the tax burden that new measures can place on a community,” said Runyon.
District officials are not certain what the next steps are. Voters rejected a bond in 2016 that would have rebuilt those same schools and Marysville-Pilchuck High School.
“The district wants to thank the many of you who supported this important measure,” said Runyon.
Tulalip Bay Fire District
The Tulalip Bay Fire District’s levy will restore property tax collections to $0.50 per $1,000 of assessed value for emergency medical services.
As of Feb. 14, 65.66 percent of voters supported the levy.
“It’s passing, with an overwhelming majority, so that’s exciting to see,” said Tulalip Bay Fire Chief Ryan Shaugnessy. “We were pleased with the results and that our community is supporting us.”
The measure also allows the fire district’s board of commissioners to raise levy collections up to 6 percent each year for the next six years, as long as the total rate doesn’t increase above $0.50 per $1,000 of assessed value.
After six years the district will have to return to the voters again if they want the rate to stay at $0.50 per $1,000 of assessed value.
“This will allow us to continue our operations and providing both basic and advanced life support to our district,” said Shaugnessy. “We want to say thanks to our community for believing in us and we are pleased to be able to continue to serve them,."
Lakewood School District
The Lakewood School District proposed two levies.
The first was a Programs and Operations levy that would provide funding for programs and staff that the state does not. As of Feb. 14, just 44.98 percent of voters supported the levy.
The second would provide funds for building maintenance and technology investments for the school. 46.61 percent of ballots counted voted yes.
“My reaction is extreme disappointment and sadness that we’re in this place,” said Lakewood School District Superintendent Scott Peacock. “Right now we are mostly waiting until the rest of the ballots get counted.”
Both levies were replacement levies, meaning they were renewing currently existing taxes, not adding on to the tax burden.
“These are not new taxes, they are replacement levies, supporting programs that have been here in the district for a long time now,” said Peacock.
“We all acknowledge the real concerns that people have about taxes and their personal finances. We do not take those lightly, nor did we take them lightly when we proposed these levies,” he said.
Now the district will look at next steps for funding.
“We have to take time to figure out what this means for the district,” said Peacock. “These levies are a big portion of our budget and supporting programs that our parents expect in their schools.”
Arlington School District
The Arlington School District put three measures on the ballot, a Program and Operations levy, a Capital levy to expand Arlington High School and make security and maintenance improvements, and a bond to replace Post Middle School.
The Programs and Operations levy and Capital levy are passing with 55.99 percent and 52.79 percent support as of Feb. 14.
The bond received 52.58 percent voter approval, however bonds require 60 percent approval to pass in Washington state.
"I'd like to thank the Arlington Public School voters for passing the levies,” said Arlington School District superintendent Chrys Sweeting.
"We are humbled by the support for our staff and students,” she said.
Sweeting said the requirement of 60 percent approval for bond proposals remains a challenge for many school districts in the state.
"I remain hopeful we will continue to work to meet the needs of our students there,” said Sweeting.
This is the first time that the district has brought three major tax proposals to the public on one ballot, said Sweeting.
“That was done intentionally,” said Sweeting.
After previous bond proposals failed, Arlington voters requested the Post Middle School replacement project be voted on separately.
"I look forward to continuing being partners with the community in education and inspiring every student,” said Sweeting.