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WV approves two levy issues on ballot

Sat., Dec. 17, 2011, midnight

The West Valley School Board voted unanimously Wednesday to put two replacement levies on the ballot for voters Feb. 14.

Superintendent Polly Crowley told the board in a special work session before the meeting that the maintenance and operations replacement levy funds such programs as music, robotics, drama, curriculum and supplies, teachers for specialized programs such as advanced placement, transportation, facility maintenance and repairs and more.

The current levy, which has been set for 2012, will collect $7.16 million from taxpayers at a rate of $4.28 per $1,000 of assessed property value. The district also receives $1.66 million in levy equalization funds from the state.

But this year, the district could face a cut in those state funds. Deputy Superintendent Doug Matson said that in order to offset that possible loss of funds, they will ask taxpayers to recoup about half – $700,000. If the state doesn’t cut levy equalization funds, the district will roll back that amount from the levy.

They are asking voters to approve a three-year, $7.8 million levy for 2013-’15. This would cost taxpayers $4.69 per $1,000 of assessed property value. Matson said they will ask for the same amount all three years.

For the last 20 years or so, West Valley has asked taxpayers for a technology levy, as well as a maintenance and operations levy. This provides the district with hardware, software and training for teachers to take back to their classrooms. Instead of getting paid to attend training sessions, teachers receive vouchers for technology in their classrooms.

They will ask taxpayers to approve a $500,000 replacement levy for technology in February. Taxpayers will pay 30 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. This is the same rate as the last technology levy voters approved.

Crowley said it was important to note that the levy is not a new tax since it replaces an expiring levy.

Levy funds account for about 28 percent of the district’s annual budget.

It needs a simple majority of 50 percent to pass.

Campaign promotes levy

Parents, board members, employee union members and residents in the Central Valley School District have formed “Central Valley Citizens for Education” to get the word out to vote yes for the CV levy on the ballot Feb. 14.

The campaign is led by parent co-chairs Angela Falcone and school board member Amy Mason.

“Levy dollars maintain quality educational programs that are vital to a well-rounded education for our kids,” Mason said. “Our high levels of student achievement in Central Valley are directly tied to levy-funded school programs, making the levy a solid investment for local taxpayers.”

The campaign will officially begin during the Vote Yes Kick-Off Rally Jan. 12 at 6:30 p.m. at the Luxury Box, 10512 E. Sprague Ave.

For more information, call Falcone at (509) 435-6249 or Mason at (509) 939-9387.

Bus filled up with food

Last month, Central Valley middle school students collected food at grocery stores throughout the Valley during its Fill the Bus campaign.

The district announced students collected 14,395 pounds of canned and packaged food, 129 frozen turkeys and $2,553 in cash donations.

Students from all five middle schools in the district participated in this annual event.

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