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Voters Asked To Pass School Bonds, Levies

Sun., May 19, 1996

Voters in Spokane, Whitman, Stevens, Pend Oreille, Lincoln and Ferry counties will be asked for money Tuesday to build new schools, repair old ones and supplement operating budgets.

The only non-school issue is a $10,000 operating levy for the Thornton Cemetery in Whitman County. It would cost property owners an estimated 91 cents per $1,000 of assessed value.

Elsewhere in Whitman County, voters in the Lamont School District will decide on an operating levy that would collect $66,000 in each of two years, 1997 and 1998, at a cost of $3.57 per $1,000 of assessed value.

The Rosalia School District will vote on a $299,000 operating levy that would cost $4.98 per $1,000.

In Spokane County, Tuesday is the last day for Liberty School District residents to mail in ballots on a $5.9 million school construction bond.

If approved, the bond would pay for a 30,000-square-foot multi-purpose building. Ten classrooms would be built and four others would be modernized.

The school district is holding a mail-in election this time around.

The bond issue would boost property tax rates $1.90 for every $1,000 of assessed value, or $190 on a $100,000 home. Residents currently pay about $5 per $1,000.

The Reardan-Edwall School District, which straddles the Spokane-Lincoln county line, will try for the sixth time to pass a $4.2 million bond measure to build a 10-classroom middle school in Reardan and add two classrooms to Reardan High School.

Superintendent Tom Crowley said the construction is needed to ease severe overcrowding - especially in the district’s grade school, which now has kindergarten through eighth grade. He said the district’s two schools in Reardan were designed for 500 students and now have 650.

Enrollment growth has averaged 4.2 percent a year for the past four years, Crowley said.

“We’ve carved up our elementary library and we’ve moved junior high classes into the high school,” he said. “We have put academic classes in the shop, we lost our computer lab and we have three teachers sharing one classroom.”

The proposal would cost property owners an estimated $1.59 per $1,000 of assessed value over 20 years.

Elsewhere in Lincoln County, the Creston School District is proposing a one-year, $152,000 operating levy that would cost an estimated $2.82 per $1,000 of assessed value.

In Stevens County, the Chewelah and Kettle Falls school districts are proposing bond measures.

Chewelah school officials split up a bond measure that failed by 43 votes in March. Voters face a $6 million measure to build a new middle school and modernize the district’s high school and grade school, and a $931,000 bond measure to improve athletic fields and the bus garage.

The Kettle Falls School District is seeking a $425,000 bond measure to fix the middle school’s leaky roof, put computer labs in the district’s three schools, improve athletic fields and provide new and replacement equipment, including furniture, band instruments and buses.

The six-year bond measure would dovetail with an existing measure for a total estimated cost of 83 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. The current rate is 93 cents, but one bond measure will expire this year.

Elsewhere in Stevens County, four school districts are proposing operating levies: Valley School District, one year, $75,000, estimated to cost $1.12 per $1,000 of assessed value; Summit Valley, two years, $28,600 per year, $1.28 per $1,000; Mary Walker (Springdale), two years, $100,000 per year, $1.16 per $1,000; Northport, two years, $50,000 per year, 72 cents per $1,000.

In northern Pend Oreille County, the Selkirk School District proposes a $1.35 million bond measure to modernize the junior and senior high school building and add an elementary school wing.

In Ferry County, the Republic School District is seeking a one-year, $248,000 operating levy that would cost an estimated $1.46 per $1,000 of assessed value.

, DataTimes

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