Darrington schools to re-ask voters to approve levy

The money is aimed more at enrichment and less at teacher pay, the superintendent said.

DARRINGTON — Voters here re being asked to reconsider a levy that would support day-to-day operations in the school district of 400 students.

The proposal is for less than half the rate the district requested in the Feb. 13 election, when the measure failed by 4 percentage points. It was the only school operations, or enrichment, levy in Snohomish County to fall short, though others came close.

The Darrington School Board approved a resolution to go back to voters in the April 24 election. Those ballots were set to arrive in mailboxes last week.

This measure asks for $1.50 per $1,000 assessed property value. The levy proposed in February would have been $3.48 per $1,000 in 2019.

The rate for the earlier request was set when the district knew less about how state school funding changes would play out, Superintendent Buck Marsh said. New legislation, meant to address a mandate to fully fund basic education, increased state taxes for schools this year while capping local levies starting next year.

“We did run that other rate,” Marsh said. “When we had to make that decision in December, there was a lot more uncertainty … The state’s changed the architecture of how schools are funded pretty dramatically.”

If approved, the Darrington levy is expected to bring in $520,596 per year. The money would go into the district’s general fund for operating expenses not covered by the state, according to the ballot measure.

The levy dollars would go toward sports and physical education; the lease of the Darrington Community Center as the school’s gymnasium; music, art and language programs; field trips; some maintenance and supplies; staff training; and some salaries. That can include teacher pay, Marsh said, though not to the degree that local levies have been used for salaries in the past.

“The state is moving away from levies to pay for teacher pay, and moving toward the levies to pay for enrichment, the things they were really intended for,” he said.

After the last levy failed, the district concluded that it hadn’t reached out enough to voters, Marsh said.

He’s been meeting with community groups and speaking at info sessions about the measure. He emphasizes that the new levy is meant to replace an existing one that expires, and that the combined state and local tax rate for schools is expected to decrease after this year’s hike. Though the state rate is expected to remain higher than it has been in the past, the local levy would decrease from $3.71 per $1,000 this year to $1.50 per $1,000 in 2019.

A ballot drop box van is scheduled to be parked at the Darrington IGA from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 23.

Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; kbray@heraldnet.com

Talk to us

More in Local News

Staff are evaluating two more light rail alternatives for the Everett Link extension. One would follow Interstate 5 north of 128th Street SW to the Everett Mall and back to the freeway. Another would go west of 128th Street SW to Highway 99 and north to Casino Road. (Sound Transit)
Snohomish County leaders reject light rail routes bypassing Paine Field

Those options weren’t what voters approved — and would be like “butchering” the plan, the Snohomish County executive said.

A Sound Transit train arrives at Westlake Station in downtown Seattle. (Sue Misao / Herald file) May 2019
Should light rail skip Paine Field and Boeing? We asked, you answered

More than 300 Herald readers responded to an online poll. Here are the results.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Highway 9 work could disrupt travel through Lake Stevens

Construction is set for roundabouts on South Lake Stevens Road and one at North Davies Road and Vernon Road.

Lynnwood City Council members, from left: Jim Smith, Shirley Sutton, Shannon Sessions, Josh Binda, George Hurst, Julieta Altamirano-Crosby, and Patrick Decker. (City of Lynnwood)
No penalty for Lynnwood council member’s ‘underinformed’ views on racism

The City Council didn’t censure Jim Smith after a report found he discriminated against a Black city employee.

All ears: Mukilteo couple provides surgery for kids born without ears

Dr. Prabhat and Trish Bhama are part of a HUGS volunteer team providing treatment for microtia in Guatemala.

(Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest - US Forest Service)
U.S. 2 reopens east of Index as Bolt Creek wildfire moves north

The highway was blocked off earlier this week as the fire spread.

People gather outside of the new Northwest Carpenters Institute building prior to a grand opening celebration Thursday, Sep. 29, 2022, in Burlington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Building a workforce: Northwest Carpenters expand training center

About 160 Snohomish County tradespeople take the apprentice classes in Burlington center. There’s ample room to grow.

A Coast Guard cutter searches for a crashed chartered floatplane near Mutiny Bay Monday afternoon in Freeland, Washington on September 5, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
5 more bodies recovered from floatplane crash off Whidbey

About 80% of the plane, including the engine, was recovered using remotely operated vessels.

Conceptual rendering for a future section of Smokey Point Boulevard between 174th Place NE and 200th Street NE. (City of Arlington)
Plan seeks to transform Smokey Point Blvd. into ‘neighborhood corridor’

City officials hope roundabouts, sidewalks and more will turn 2 miles of busy road into a neighborhood street.

Most Read