Stanwood schools seek $29M building, tech levy

STANWOOD — Voters in the Stanwood-Camano School District are being asked on the Nov. 5 ballot to approve a replacement tax levy of nearly $29 million.

The levy would support repairs to school buildings and upgrade computer technology throughout the district. Portioned out over five years, the levy tax rate would be about $1.44 on each $1,000 of assessed property value during the first four years and 15 cents per $1,000 in its final year.

The district’s outstanding bond debt is set to be paid off in December. The proposed capital levy would replace the expiring tax currently collected for that bond debt. The proposed tax rate is expected to be less than the current rate collected by the school district, officials said.

If the facilities and technology levy passes, a property owner with a house worth $350,000 would pay about $504 a year for four years and about $52.50 for the fifth year of the levy.

About 59 percent of the tax levy funds would be used for long-term repairs and security measures to protect students and staff, Superintendent Jean Shumate said.

The money would be used for security systems, new roofs, windows, siding, flooring, heating, lighting, ventilation and parking lot paving.

A facilities advisory committee has critiqued all of the district’s property, finance director Gary Platt said. Among those touring the school buildings was co-chairman of the citizen group supporting the levy, Marcus Bresko.

“It was an eye-opener for me,” Bresko said. “It doesn’t do a community any good if its schools are in disrepair. Schools are a vital aspect of the future of any community. I want our schools to have modernization that lasts for decades.”

Bresko has heard of no formal opposition to the levy, though many retired people have concerns about taxes, he said. Platt noted that anyone age 61 and older with a combined household income of $35,000 or less is exempt from the school levy. More information about this is available from the county assessor.

About 41 percent of the funding from the levy would go to upgrade all the computer technology in the district. Most of it is obsolete and worn out, said teacher Kevin Plambeck, who is in charge of technology in the schools.

“When we get to the end of this proposed five-year levy, we will have updated all our software, replaced each computer in the district and improved student access to all available technology,” Plambeck said. “All of our students now are what we call ‘digital natives.’ They grew up on technology and they need current technology to move ahead.”

Bresko said he and all the parents he knows want this situation remedied as soon as possible.

Plambeck mentioned that the computers donated to Twin City Elementary this past school year will remain in use there and be integrated into the new systems. At Twin City, many students from low-income families do not have computers at home, and most of the computers at the school were outdated or did not work. A fundraising effort in the spring resulted in the purchase of more than 75 new computers for the school.

Shumate is optimistic about the levy passing, she said. Ballots are to be mailed out in mid-October.

“The levy measure is not a tax increase,” Shumate said. “The voters told us in 2006 that they were not interested in tax increases,” Shumate said. “We waited until our debt was paid down. Voters also asked us to run the levy on a general election to save costs, and we did that.”

To learn more about the levy, go to districtweb.stanwood.wednet.edu.

Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; gfiege@heraldnet.com.

More in Local News

Designed for special emergencies, texting 911 widely misused

The majority of texts dispatchers receive are better handled by calling, a SNOPAC official says.

Signs show the rates for using the express toll lanes for traffic headed southbound on Interstate 405, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016, in Bothell, Wash. Gov. Jay Inslee announced plans Tuesday to try to decrease congestion on I-405 in answer to commuter complaints that the new express lane tolling system is making traffic worse. The governor said he would not be shutting down the tolling system as some people have called for. But the state transportation department is making plans to add new northbound general purpose lanes to ease some of the congestion and also plan to make it easier to move into and out of the express lanes. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
After a 2-year trial, are I-405’s toll lanes here to stay?

Lawmakers will decide whether to keep them or end the experiment and try something else.

Weary drivers using toll lanes say they have little choice

Congestion continues to be a tedious reality for commuters on I-405, which is as clogged as ever.

Arlington woman dies 4 days after Marysville crash

She was on the northbound onramp from Fourth Street to I-5 when her pickup hit a tree and fence.

Council passes six-month moratorium on safe injection sites

Proposal by County Councilman Nate Nehring passed unanimously.

Terrace woman held following collision in Everett

The three occupants in vehicle were transported to a local hospital in serious condition.

Information sought on drive-by shooting in Everett

Debris from an apparent crash, evidence of gunfire found in the 2800 block of California Street.

Longboarders from near and far hit the trail in Arlington

The Centennial Sk8 Festival was serious competition for some and just for fun for others.

Everett’s lawsuit against maker of OxyContin can proceed

Purdue Pharma says it’s not liable for the impacts of opioid addiction and wanted the case tossed.

Most Read