School funding measures failing in 7 county districts

A dozen districts sought passage of four-year property tax levies that pay for staff and programs not covered by the state.

election

Complete special election results table below.

EVERETT — It was a rough night for public schools in Snohomish County.

While a half-dozen districts celebrated passage of critical funding measures, seven others saw voters turning down their requests for money to fund education programs and capital improvements.

Voters in the Marysville, Granite Falls, Sultan, Monroe, Snohomish and Stanwood-Camano districts opposed property tax levies that would pay for classroom staff, special education services, athletic programs, computers and facility improvements not covered by state dollars. Each proposed levy was intended to replace one set to expire at the end of 2022.

Meanwhile, the Everett School District marked strong approval of a six-year, $325.5 million capital levy, a year after voters turned down a roughly similar-sized bond measure.

And in the Northshore School District, separate levies for education programs and technology were passing, but a $425 million bond was just shy of the 60% threshold required to pass.

Here is how measures fared in each district Tuesday night. The next update of results will be posted Wednesday afternoon.

Darrington

An education program levy was passing 55.8% to 44.2%.

That’s big news. Two years ago, the district failed twice to pass a supplemental levy to ease funding challenges, which worsened amid the pandemic.

Proposition 1 would bring in $950,000 a year and $3.8 million over four years for the small district. The tax rate would start at $1.67 per $1,000 of assessed value and drop about a quarter by the last year.

Edmonds

A four-year education program was passing 60.5% to 39.5%.

It would provide $63.5 million in 2023 and an estimated $276.2 million overall. The tax rate would be $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed value, up slightly from the existing levy.

Everett

Voters were approving two levies to tackle present and future needs of the district’s 21,000 students.

The four-year education programs and operations levy garnered 55.8% in the first round of ballot counting. It could bring in as much as $65 million in the first year and $272.5 million over four years.

And the six-year, $325 million capital levy was ahead 56.5% to 43.5%. If the results hold, those dollars would largely be spent to replace two aging elementary schools and improve technology resources across the district.

A year ago, voters in the district rejected a $317 million bond to handle many of the projects.

“It’s a significant vote of confidence from our community. I am so happy,” said Pam LeSesne, president of the district’s Board of Directors.

Granite Falls

A pair of four-year levies to pay for instructional programs and technology needs were failing.

The education levy, which supplies about 16% of the district’s annual operating budget, was being rejected 54.4% to 45.6%.

Voters opposed the capital levy by a narrower margin, 51.5% to 48.5%. That measure would generate $750,000 a year for the purchase of computers and other technology equipment for student learn and make a range of improvements for safety and energy efficiency on campuses.

Index

Voters were once again backing this rural school district, approving the four-year education program levy, 75.5% to 24.5%.

It would bring in $88,000 in the first year — dollars to pay for students to play in the band and to have a nurse on campus a few hours a week.

Lake Stevens

A pair of four-year funding measures were leading.

A property tax for operations and education programs collected 53.5% on Tuesday. If approved, it was projected to bring in $18.2 million in collections in 2023, or roughly 11% of the district’s annual funding.

A second levy, for instructional technology improvements, led 55.9% to 44.1%. It would provide $2.5 million a year to replace and upgrade computers, devices, hardware and software, while also providing staff training and bolstering cybersecurity protection.

Marysville

Two funding measures were losing badly Tuesday, a sign that months of tumult in the district may be taking its toll with the electorate.

Voters were rejecting a four-year property tax levy for educational programs by a margin of 61.8% to 38.2%. Revenue from that levy is the district’s second-largest funding source, accounting for over 18% of the overall budget.

A four-year technology and capital projects levy collected just 40.5% of the votes on Tuesday. If approved, it would produce about $7 million a year for installing computer equipment essential for student engagement during the pandemic, buying playground equipment and replacing roofs on campus buildings.

Paul Galovin, president of the School Board, said before the election that the money is critical to avoid cutbacks.

“We’d have to get increasingly creative without the levy in order to fund our schools,” he said.

Monroe

As in Marysville, an instruction and operations levy was losing 55.2% to 44.8%

The measure would provide $15.9 million in 2023 and $69 million over four years at a tax rate that would be about a penny less than the current rate. Levy funds make up 15% of the school district budget.

Mukilteo

Voters were approving separate measures for instructional services and capital improvements.

The four-year education levy, which would bring in an average of $45 million a year, led 54% to 46%.

And a six-year capital levy had support from 53.2% on Tuesday. Those dollars would be used to buy computers for students and staff, as well as to upgrade or replace heating, electrical, plumbing and fire safety systems.

“We are very thankful for our community supporting important programs and services for students,” said district spokeswoman Diane Bradford.

Northshore

Voters considered a trifecta of tax measures Tuesday.

A levy for education programs, which accounts for 16% of district budget, was passing 58.9% to 41.1%.

A separate measure, to raise $80 million over four years for technology needs, garnered support from 60.1%.

But the third funding request — a $425 million bond — was narrowly failing Tuesday. It received 59.9%, just a few votes shy of the required 60% to pass.

Snohomish

Voters were deadlocked on an education levy in the first round of balloting with 4,970 votes in favor and 4,970 votes opposed. Local tax collections make up about 16% of the district’s revenue and pay for more than 50 full-time positions.

Voters were passing the four-year capital levy by a 51.9% to 48.1 margin. It would produce $30.6 million for modernizing facilities, installing safety cameras and investing in technology.

Stanwood-Camano

Voters were rejecting a four-year $10.4 million capital improvement tax, 52.1% to 47.9. Money collected would be spent to upgrade technology, put new roofs on buildings and replace aging sprinkler and public address systems.

Sultan

Voters were rejecting an education program and operations levy that provides 10% of the district budget by a margin of 52.3% to 47.7%.

A separate four-year property tax assessment would generate $14.5 million for repairing and maintaining district classrooms and buildings. It was losing 53% to 47%.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @dospueblos.

 

Special election results

Early results of the Feb. 8 special election in Snohomish County.

 

Darrington School District

Proposition 1

Replacement programs and operation levy

Yes 373 55.8%
No 296 44.2%

 

Edmonds School District

Proposition 1

Replacement programs and operation levy

Yes 14,932 60.5%
No 9,738 39.5%

 

Everett School District

Proposition 1

Replacement programs and operation levy

Yes 9,784 55.8%
No 7,738 44.2%

Proposition 2

Replacement capital levy

Yes 9,905 56.5%
No 7,632 43.5%

 

Granite Falls School District

Proposition 1

Replacement programs and operation levy

Yes 939 45.6%
No 1,122 54.4%

Proposition 2

Replacement tech and improvements levy

Yes 1,000 48.5%
No 1,062 51.5%

 

Index School District

Proposition 1

Replacement programs and operation levy

Yes 74 75.5%
No 24 24.5%

 

Lake Stevens Public Schools

Proposition 1

Replacement programs and operation levy

Yes 3,293 53.6%
No 2,851 46.4%

Proposition 2

Replacement technology improvements levy

Yes 3,441 55.9%
No 2,714 44.1%

 

Marysville Public Schools

Proposition 1

Replacement programs and operation levy

Yes 3,341 38.2%
No 5,411 61.8%

Proposition 2

Technology and capital projects levy

Yes 3,541 40.5%
No 5,205 59.5%

 

Monroe School District

Proposition 1

Replacement programs and operation levy

Yes 2,417 44.8%
No 2,973 55.2%

 

Mukilteo Public Schools

Proposition 1

Replacement programs levy

Yes 5,218 54.0%
No 4,440 46.0%

Proposition 2

Replacement capital projects levy

Yes 5,144 53.2%
No 4,525 46.8%

 

Northshore School District

Proposition 1

Replacement programs and operation levy

Yes 11,836 58.9%
No 8,244 41.1%

Proposition 2 (60% required)

General obligation bonds

Approved 12,048 59.9%
Rejected 8,057 40.1%

Proposition 3

Renewal of capital projects levy

Yes 11,940 60.6%
No 7,777 39.4%

 

Snohomish School District

Proposition 1

Replacement programs and operation levy

Yes 4,970 50.0%
No 4,970 50.0%

Proposition 2

Replacement tech, safety, facility levy

Yes 5,163 51.9%
No 4,778 48.1%

 

Stanwood-Camano School District

Proposition 1

Replacement programs and operation levy

Yes 2,327 47.9%
No 2,527 52.1%

 

Sultan School District

Proposition 1

Replacement programs and operation levy

Yes 825 47.7%
No 904 52.3%

Proposition 2

Capital levy

Yes 812 47.0%
No 916 53.0%

 

Fire District 15

Proposition 1

Restore regular property tax levy

Yes 369 58.0%
No 267 42.0%

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