Spokane Public Schools kept up its 40-year winning streak alive as voters approved its latest levy request to pay for personnel and sports activities.
The levy request was passing with 72.6 percent of the vote after Tuesday night’s count. It required just more than 50 percent to pass.
Voters throughout Spokane County were generous in Tuesday’s vote, as every measure on the ballot was approved, most by large margins. Among districts that passed levies were Medical Lake, Mead, Central Valley, Freeman, Cheney, Liberty, West Valley, Deer Park and Riverside.
“We are just so happy with the support we get from the community,” Spokane Public Schools Superintendent Shelley Redinger said. “We do not take it for granted, ever. But the people of Spokane, they support education.”
The levy request is a bit different than past requests in that it actually will lower local property taxes from $3.77 per $1,000 of assessed property value to $1.50 starting in 2019. The levy will pay for school nurses, counselors, sports activities, school resource officers and other school programs.
The reduction in local taxes came after the Washington Legislature increased spending to comply with orders by the Washington Supreme Court as part of the McCleary decision, which mandated that the state fully fund basic education.
That means state property taxes are going up, from $2 per $1,000 of assessed property value to $2.46.
Even with the higher state tax rate, local taxpayers will pay about $1.60 less per $1,000 of assessed property value, Associate Superintendent Mark Anderson said. For the owner of a $200,000 home in Spokane County, that would be a tax savings of about $320 per year.
However, that tax break will be delayed because the tax bills just arriving continue to include the old local $3.77 levy rate, said Linda McDermott, chief financial officer for Spokane Public Schools.
Spokane Public Schools, which is the second-largest school district in the state, was just one of many local school districts that went to the voters on Tuesday with funding requests.
Here is the list of other school districts and the levies and bonds and how they fared on Tuesday.
Levies, which are approved by more than 50 percent of voters, generally pay for school operations and personnel that are not funded by the state.
Bonds generally are used for buildings, technology and other facilities. Capital levies generally are used like bonds but school districts pay as they go instead of borrowing the funds they need.
Great Northern School District
About 79 percent of voters in the Great Northern School District approved a three-year levy of $1.50 starting in 2019. It replaces the existing levy to fund school operations for three years.
Nine Mile Falls School District
Nine Mile Falls School District voters approved the three-year levy rate of $1.50 with 57 percent support. And, about 55 percent of voters approved a capital levy that will allow the district to make “health, safety and energy efficiency improvements at Lakeside Middle School.” The capital levy rate will add an additional $1.43 for 2019 and $1.28 for 2020 per $1,000 of assessed property value. It will pay to upgrade heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems and replace some roofs.
Medical Lake School District
Nearly 63 percent of Medical Lake School Districtvoters approved a three-year levy rate of $1.50 starting in 2019.
Voters also approved – by nearly the same margin – a six-year capital levy that will add an additional 40 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. It will pay for security and infrastructure improvements throughout existing schools. The capital levy would also pay to upgrade roofs and heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems.
Mead School District
Almost 70 percent of Mead School District voters approved a three-year levy rate of $1.50 starting in 2019.
Voters also backed, by 67 percent, a $114.5 million bond that will pay for a new middle school, a new elementary school, a new maintenance building, and a new athletic stadium for both Mt. Spokane and Mead High School football games. The bond also will pay for a separate building that will be used in an agreement with the West Valley and East Valley school districts for bus maintenance.
Central Valley School District
Some 70 percent of voters approved the three-year levy rate of $1.50 starting in 2019 for Central Valley School District.
Voters also approved, also with 70 percent support, the $129.9 million bond to build a new high school and a new middle school. It will also pay for renovations to Horizon Middle School and upgrades to heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems at several schools.
Freeman School District
More than 64 percent of voters approved new levy for Freeman School District, and 61 percent of the voters also approved a capital levy of $1.25 per $1,000 of assessed property value for three years. It will pay for safety, technology and infrastructure improvements throughout school facilities, including installing security cameras, entry controls, classroom computers and a new roof for the middle school.
Cheney School District
Some 60 percent of Cheney School District voters agreed to a three-year levy rate of $1.50 starting in 2019.
Liberty School District
About 65 percent of Lilbety School District voters approved a three-year levy rate of $1.50 starting in 2019.
Voters, by the same 65 percent approval rate, also supported a three-year capital levy that will pay for improvements to technology, safety and security improvements through the existing school facilities. That would include entry controls and cameras.
West Valley School District
Some 69 percent of West Valley School District voters approved a three-year levy rate of $1.50 starting in 2019.
Voters also approved, by 68 percent, a three-year capital levy, which would add $1 per $1,000 of assessed property value, to replace an existing capital levy. The levy will support the district’s modernization and upgrades of technology and computer systems for instruction and operations, as well as other capital project expenditures.
Reardan-Edwall School District
More than 60 percent of voters approved a three-year levy rate of $1.50 starting in 2019 at the Reardan-Edwall School District.
Deer Park School District
Some 59 percent of Deer Park School District voters approved a three-year levy rate of $1.50 starting in 2019.
Riverside School District
Almost 69 percent of Riverside School District voters approved a a three-year levy rate of $1.50 starting in 2019.
Voters also approved, by some 68 percent, a four-year capital levy, which would add 80 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value, that will pay for installing security cameras and entry controls. In addition, it will pay to replace roofs, improve classrooms for vocational education and purchase computers and telecommunication systems.