School Funding

4 districts hope to change voters’ minds on school funding

EVERETT — Public school district leaders in Marysville, Sultan, Granite Falls and Stanwood will ask voters in April to approve key funding measures they rejected in special elections this month.

These districts have not passed the multi-year property tax levies they rely on to pay for classroom staff, special education services, athletic programs, computers and facility improvements not covered by state dollars. ‘State. Each was intended to replace one expiring at the end of 2022.

State law allows districts to attempt twice per calendar year to pass them. April 26 is the next special election date.

Across Washington, voters rejected 17 education programs and eight capital improvement levies in the Feb. 8 special election. Nine of those 25 losses occurred in districts in Snohomish County.

The Marysville School District executed each type of levy, and both lost margins of about 60% to 40%. In response, the school board reduced its proposals.

Administrators set the tax rate for a four-year education and operating tax at $1.97 per $1,000 of assessed value, down from the $2.20 rate in the measure that failed. This tax is the second source of funding for the district.

And the board more than halved the rate of a proposed capital levy. It is now 26 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, rather than the 60 cents rejected by voters. The lower rate would bring in about $12.5 million over the next four years, compared to $28.6 million in the failed measure.

In Sultan, voters refused both education and capital levies. The school board puts both back on the ballot. The principals leave the property tax for education programs untouched because it produces 10% of the revenue used to run the district on a day-to-day basis.

They reduce the size of the capital levy. It has a tax rate of 95 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, 30 cents less than what administrators previously sought.

Granite Falls Headteachers are again applying the same Educational Programs Tax and Capital Improvement Tax.

Voters rejected the Granite Falls education measure by a margin of 53.5% to 46.5%, with 1,605 voters opposed and 1,395 in favor.

The capital levy fell just before the switch, losing 50.4% to 49.6%. There were 1,491 votes in favor and 1,512 votes against.

As proposed, this proposal would generate $750,000 per year for the purchase of computers and other technology equipment for student learning, and would provide a range of improvements for security and energy efficiency. on campuses.

Stanwood-Camano will implement the same four-year, $10.4 million capital improvement tax that was defeated in the February election. The district spans parts of Snohomish and Island counties.

“There is still a significant gap between what the state provides and what it costs to provide the services and programs that Stanwood-Camano students need and that our community expects,” the superintendent of Stanwood-Camano wrote. Stanwood, Deborah Rumbaugh, in a letter to parents.

If passed, the money would pay for computers and software, as well as a new roof at Cedarhome Elementary, new boilers at Elger Bay and Cedarhome Elementary, and replacement of sprinkler lines in Fire at Utsalady and Elger Bay Elementary Elements.

Meanwhile, the Monroe School District, which also suffered the defeat of two levies earlier this month, will wait until the general election in November to try again.

Trustees said at a meeting last week they needed time to regain the community’s trust lost during months of unrest marred by disputes over the handling of racial incidents involving students, the terms of mask and vaccine and the conduct of the superintendent.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; [email protected]; Twitter: @dospueblos.