February 7, 2013 in Washington Voices

Group sends mailer opposing EV school bond

By The Spokesman-Review
 
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Breaking down the cost

If you’re a property owner in the East Valley School District, here’s what the proposed bond would cost you per year at $1.35 per $1,000 assessed value.

• $100,000 – $135 per year

• $150,000 – $202.50 per year

• $200,000 – $270 per year

• $250,000 – $337.50 per year

• $300,000 – $405 per year

• $350,000 – $472.50 per year

• $400,000 – $540 per year

Ballots must be postmarked by Tuesday, or delivered to a drop box or voter service center by 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Citizens for Responsible Taxation mailed fliers this week targeting the $65 million East Valley School District bond on the ballot in Tuesday’s special election.

The bond would pay to renovate buildings and build a new performing arts center and athletics facility at the high school.

The Citizens for Responsible Taxation claims the bond will actually cost taxpayers an additional $34 million, with interest.

The mailer lacks a valid argument, district Superintendent John Glenewinkel said. Plus, the bond’s cost presented on the ballot includes the expected interest, he said.

“They’re not fighting it based on the issue of safety and improvement, they’re just saying ‘no,’ ” Glenewinkel said.

Although the proposal is a new tax, Glenewinkel said the district does not have a debt from previous bonds.

Taxpayers are currently paying for a four-year levy approved in 2012 at a cost of $3.90 per $1,000 assessed property value.

District voters approved the levy at a higher rate – $4.44 per $1,000 assessed value – because the state Legislature had threatened to stop subsidizing districts because of a budget shortfall.

East Valley, along with many other districts, promised to not collect the extra levy funds if the state didn’t make the threatened cuts.

When the state funding came through, the district reduced the tax to its original replacement level.

The district’s proposed bond would cost taxpayers $1.35 per $1,000 assessed property value. A property owner with a home valued at $150,000 would pay $202.50 a year.

The average assessed value for a home in the school district is $179,830, according to Spokane County Assessor’s Office. The corresponding tax for a property at that value would be $242.77 per year.

This is the fifth attempt the district has made to pass a bond. A bond requires a 60 percent supermajority to pass.

If approved, the bond would also allow the district to acquire new land and upgrade communication infrastructure to install wireless Internet capabilities and security cameras.

The additional $34 million mentioned in the opposition’s mailer refers to capital project funds already appropriated from the state, Glenewinkel said. The state funds are revenue from timber lands, shellfish and grazing leases.

Citizens for Responsible Taxation spokesman John Beal refused to comment Tuesday and referred to his group’s website, www.taxfacs.com/, for further information.

The group has previously campaigned against school levies and bond meaures in Spokane County and as far away as Reardan-Edwall.


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