School districts seek to continue levies

STANWOOD — Voters in five school districts in Snohomish County approved tax levies last February. Officials with the Stanwood-Camano and Lakewood school districts are hoping for similar results next month.

Those two school districts will be going to voters to ask for replacement tax levies April 17. The voter turnout for the February election was about 34 percent.

In Stanwood, the school board has placed on the ballot a four-year renewal of the property tax levy that expires in December. The replacement levy would continue to provide nearly a quarter of all funding for the Stanwood-Camano School District.

Local property taxes help pay for additional teachers to help reduce class sizes, curriculum and teaching materials, facility maintenance and repairs, increased energy costs and energy conservation measures, pupil transportation, food services, special programs for gifted students and struggling students, extra-curricular programs and activities and programs that support teaching and student learning, Superintendent Jean Shumate said.

The proposed levy is not a new tax, and levy amounts and tax rates being proposed are similar to the expiring levy, Shumate said.

If the levy passes, the school district would collect about $11 million a year through 2016. The tax rate would be about $2.18 per $1,000 of assessed value. So the estimated annual tax for schools on a $300,000 home would be about $654.

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In Lakewood, the school board has placed two measures on the April 17 ballot.

One is a levy to replace the current property tax levy that expires at the end of December.

Lakewood’s proposed four-year replacement school program and operations levy would provide about 20 percent of the district’s total operating revenue.

It would help pay for student programs, funding for some teachers and classroom assistants, bus transportation, security, athletics, curricular activities, student technology needs and routine maintenance of school buildings, Superintendent Dennis Haddock said.

It would collect about $6.4 million a year during the four-year term at a rate of about $3.47 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

Second, the district’s proposed two-year capital projects levy would pay for major repairs to school buildings, maintain the district’s investment in computer technology and plan for future modernization of Lakewood High School. The capital projects levy would collect a total of about $7.3 million over the two years at a rate of about $2.01 per $1,000 of assessed value.

For the owner of a house assessed at $265,000, the cost of the combined levies would be $1,452 in 2013.

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Gale Fiege: 425-3393427;

Ballots coming

School levy election ballots are to be mailed out to voters in the Stanwood-Camano and Lakewood school districts next week and are due April 17.

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