School issues on Granite Falls, Monroe ballots

Granite Falls and Monroe are among the local school districts with measures on the Feb. 19 ballot.

Both are venturing into new territory. It’s the first time for each to be part of an all-mail ballot. At the same time, a new law passed by voters statewide in November has lowered the threshold for a levy to pass from 60 percent to a simple majority of 50 percent.

Levy supporters hope voters who won’t participate in a presidential primary because of the requirement to list a political party still will cast their ballots on school issues.

“I think that the primary is taking a lot of the focus and I hope people do remember to turn their ballots over and vote,” said Jody Hillery, a Granite Falls mother and co-chairwoman of her community’s levy committee.

Here’s a look at measures in both districts:

Granite Falls

Voters in the Granite Falls School District face three ballot measures.

Proposition 1 is a request to renew the district’s four-year maintenance and operation levy.

The district would face difficult decisions if it did not have the levy money, said Kathy Grant, a district spokeswoman. It helps pay for safety measures such as transportation for students who live within a mile of their schools. It’s also important for textbooks, utility bills, extracurricular activities and teacher training.

The levy now accounts for 16 percent of the district’s budget.

The levy rate would be set at $2.13 per $1,000 of assessed value each of the four years. On a $300,000 home, that would cost $639.

Proposition 2 is a technology levy.

The district keeps the maintenance and operation and technology levies separate for one reason: the state allows it to keep about $50,000 a year from timber sales if the levies are separate.

“If we combine the two levies into one issue, the district will lose that additional funding,” Grant said.

Cost of the technology levy would be 31 cents per $1,000 of assessed value each of the four years. That would cost $93 on a $300,000 home.

The total tax rate between the two measures would be 15 cents less per $1,000 of assessed value than what voters are now paying.

Proposition 3 is a four-year capital improvement levy that would raise $4 million to build a stadium at the new Granite Falls High School.

The campus already has synthetic turf and a track, but no seating. The measure would provide a stadium with covered seating for 2,000 people for the home team and visitors’ seating for 500.

It would be an additional tax than what voters now pay.

Cost would drop from 60 cents per $1,000 of assessed value in 2009 to 48 cents per $1,000 by 2012.

That’s a range of $144 to $180 a year on a $300,000 home.


Voters in Monroe have two ballot measures to decide.

Proposition 1 is a request to renew a four-year maintenance and operation levy. Local levy dollars account for about 15 percent of the school district’s operating budget.

The measure would raise $53.1 million over the four years, or about $13.3 million a year. Levy rates would range from $2.11 to $2.22 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. That’s a range of $633 to $666 a year on a $300,000 home.

Superintendent Ken Hoover said the district has a history of conservative levy rate estimates. The actual rates are later lowered as the district’s overall assessed value rises with new construction.

“Our track record is we generally do that,” he said. “We expect this will end up being the case again.”

Hoover said the levy will allow the district to update its curriculum, which is an area where “we have kind of fallen behind.”

Proposition 2 is a two-year capital projects levy that would raise $4.7 million to replace aging roofs and heating systems, upgrade technology and resurface the high school track, which opened in 1999.

“We have some work that ­really needs to get done around the district,” Hoover said.

Prop. 2 would cost 40 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation. On a $300,000 home, that would cost $120 a year.

Reporter Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446 or e-mail

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