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Bond would pay for 3 new schools in Marysville

District also seeks replacement levy

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By Eric Stevick
Herald Writer
MARYSVILLE — Voters in the Marysville School District will decide two school-financing issues on the Feb. 9 ballot.
Proposition 1 is a 20-year, $78 million bond measure to replace three aging schools and make improvements on other campuses.
Proposition 2 is a four-year operations levy to help pay the day-to-day costs of running schools. It would replace a voter-approved levy that is expiring.
Marysville leaders said the district would be collecting less money from taxpayers in 2010 and over the next five years even if both measures pass.
The reason is that a school construction bond measure passed in 1990 will be paid off this year.
The new bond measure would replace Liberty Elementary, built in 1951, and Cascade Elementary, built in 1957, with new two-story buildings. Marysville Middle School, built in 1960, also would be replaced. The projects would create new classrooms for about 2,000 of the district’s 11,000 students.
Other projects would include improvements at Marysville-Pilchuck High School, including work on the swimming pool, as well as technology upgrades and planning for future projects.
Superintendent Larry Nyland said many school districts with construction projects are getting low interest rates and competitive bids in today’s economy.
“It’s about investing,” said Don Whitfield, co-chairman of Marysville’s bond and levy committee. “Everybody knows in investing you want to buy low and sell high. To me, this whole thing is really a great opportunity to take advantage of the low interest rates and low construction costs to build these schools.”
Chum Shoemaker, 69, a retired police officer, said he will vote against both measures, largely based on the state of the economy.
“A lot of my friends don’t mind paying their school taxes, but a lot of my friends are scrimping just to get by,” he said. “I know we are in the minority. When times are good, I don’t mind helping support things I think are a benefit.”
Whitfield said the economy is a question mark in the campaign, but the district’s overall tax costs would dip a bit during the next five years.
The district collected $34.3 million in 2009 and, if the bond and levy pass, would collect a little bit less than $34 million over the next five years.
The four-year maintenance and operations levy would cost $3.15 per $1,000 of assessed value for each of the four years. It would raise more than $21 million a year and would collect $945 on a $300,000 home.
Levy money accounts for about 20 percent of the district’s daily operations budget, helping to pay for expenses such as transportation, athletics, substitute teachers, textbooks, teachers’ salaries and staff positions not covered by state financing.
With the Legislature cutting funding for education last spring, and expected to do so this year, the local levy becomes critical, Nyland said.
Levies require a simple majority to pass.
Bond and levy are combined, the overall tax rate would be $4.77 per $1,000 of assessed value. That would amount to $1,431 on a $300,000 home.
Story tags » MarysvilleMukilteo School DistrictTaxesElectionsLocalLocal elections

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