Everett schools call levies only ‘what we need’

  • Thu Jan 28th, 2010 9:57am
  • News

By Eric Stevick Herald Writer

EVERETT — Voters in the Everett School District will decide two school measures on the Feb. 9 ballot.

Proposition 1 is a four-year levy for educational programs and operations that would replace a levy that is expiring.

Proposition 2 is a smaller six-year building repair and technology levy.

Both measures require a simple majority to pass.

“We ask for what we need, not necessarily what we want, particularly in these most difficult economic times,” said Jeff Moore, the district’s finance director.

The replacement levy covers 19 percent of the district’s daily operating budget. It helps pay salaries for teachers and teacher aides and for a variety of programs and supplies, such as textbooks, efforts aimed at improving graduation rates and more challenging course offerings for students.

The levy would raise $40 million in 2011 and increase each year to $45 million by 2014.

The Everett district serves more than 18,000 students.

District officials said the levy has become increasingly important with the Legislature making cuts in state education funding this year and likely to do the same for next year.

“We know that this levy is going to be absolutely critical in light of the state budget cuts, which are more than likely coming,” said Mary Waggoner, a school district spokeswoman.

Levy rates would begin at $2.52 per $1,000 of assessed value in 2011 and reach $2.60 per $1,000 in 2014. For a house assessed at $300,000, the homeowner would pay $756 in 2011 and $780 in 2014.

The six-year building repair and technology levy will replace worn-out electrical, heating and ventilation systems as well as aging roofs. It also will replace computers on a regular cycle. It would raise $8 million a year.

Levy rates would begin at 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed value in 2011 and dip a penny or two each year to 44 cents per $1,000 in 2016. For a $300,000 home, that annual cost would be $150 in 2011 and $132 in 2016.

About three-quarters of the money would go toward instructional technology and one-quarter toward building repairs, Moore said.

Between the two levies being proposed and bond measures previously approved by voters, the overall tax rate on property owners would be $4.65 per $1,000 of assessed value.

By design, that is the same rate the district expects to collect in 2010, Moore said.

For a $300,000 home, the homeowner would pay $1,395 in district levies.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, stevick@heraldnet.com.

The levy stories

Here’s the planned coverage in The Herald for school bond and levy issues that are on the Feb. 9 ballot. These stories can also be found on www.heraldnet.com after publication.

Jan. 25: Lake Stevens School District

Jan. 26: Snohomish School District

Jan. 27: Marysville School District

Today: Everett School District

Friday: Mukilteo School District

Monday: Edmonds School District

Tuesday: Sultan School District

Wednesday: Northshore (Bothell) School District