February 7, 1996 in City

Eight Out Of 10 Approve School Levy Spokane School District Draws Grass-Roots Support For Tax

Carla K. Johnson Staff writer
 

A grass-roots campaign paid off in an overwhelming victory for levy supporters in the Spokane School District on Tuesday.

The district’s “yes” vote put to shame other taxing districts also running levies. Eight out of 10 voters said schools deserved their property taxes.

Slippery, slushy weather threatened to keep voters home, but volunteers burned up phone lines reminding friends and relatives to vote “yes for kids.”

“We’re thrilled,” said campaign co-chairman Scott K. Jones at levy headquarters Tuesday night.

“It was a testament to the neighborhood campaign we had this year. We had people from every school involved and taking ownership of the issue at their own school level.

“They said, ‘For our own school we have to make sure this thing goes.”’

The levy zoomed past its twofold requirement. It needed a 60 percent supermajority and a turnout of 20,748 voters.

The vote returns the district to a level of local support that seemed to evaporate in 1994 when the levy squeaked by with only 237 votes to spare.

The money is used for elementary school counselors, textbooks, teaching assistants and activities such as band, sports and drama.

Campaigners said 600 district jobs were at stake.

In the past, levy supporters hired people to post signs and stuff envelopes. This year, campaign organizers tried a grass-roots approach, relying heavily on parents and volunteers.

The levy will collect $32.9 million in 1997 and $30.9 million in 1998.

It replaces a tax expiring Dec. 31 that contributes about 19 percent of the district’s budget. The rest of the budget is supported by state and federal taxes.

Estimated tax rates are $3.99 per $1,000 of assessed property value the first year, and $3.56 per $1,000 the second year.

The owner of a $100,000 home would pay $399 the first year and $356 the second year.

The second-year drop is due to a decrease in the allowable local levy amount, which is set by the Legislature.

, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: MEAD LEVY APPEARS TO BE WINNING Mead School District’s levy appeared on its way to a win late Tuesday. The levy will provide the district with $8.3 million in 1997 and $7.3 million in 1998. The estimated tax rate is $4.85 per $1,000 of assessed value in 1997 and $4.06 per $1,000 of assessed value in 1998. The owner of a $100,000 home would pay $485 the first year and $406 the second. The levy needed 60 percent approval to pass and a turnout of 4,006 to validate.

This sidebar appeared with the story: MEAD LEVY APPEARS TO BE WINNING Mead School District’s levy appeared on its way to a win late Tuesday. The levy will provide the district with $8.3 million in 1997 and $7.3 million in 1998. The estimated tax rate is $4.85 per $1,000 of assessed value in 1997 and $4.06 per $1,000 of assessed value in 1998. The owner of a $100,000 home would pay $485 the first year and $406 the second. The levy needed 60 percent approval to pass and a turnout of 4,006 to validate.


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