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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Cheney school levy vote March 11

WEST PLAINS – Cheney Public Schools on March 11 will ask voters to approve a capital projects levy to pay for computers, roofs and bleachers for the high school football field. The two-year levy is expected to raise $3.6 million each year.

The levy would cost $1.60 per $1,000 of assessed property value in 2009 and $1.55 per $1,000 of assessed property value in 2010. It should maintain the total tax rate in the district, since the the voter-approved 2006 transportation vehicle fund levy it would replace will expire before any new funds are collected and the overall assessed valuation has increased.

The district, which serves around 3,700 students in the West Plains, hasn’t passed a technology levy since 1998. Much of the equipment purchased with that money is either out of date or no longer works. Dunn said the district has tried to use grant money to keep up with technological advances, but that need has overtaken those efforts.

The levy will pay for new desktop computers for students, and replacement of teachers’ computers, classroom presentation equipment, software support and licensing, server replacement, network switches, a phone system upgrade or replacement, and an identification card system.

Capital projects would include new roofing throughout the district, automatic doors for better wheelchair access to the buildings, resurfacing the 41-year-old parking lot at Cheney High School and new bleachers for the high school football field. A new warehouse is also include; the district has been using the basement at the administration building. The small space prohibits the nutrition services program from buying frozen foods or dry goods in bulk, which could save the district $25,000 to $35,000 in commodity purchases a year, according to the district.

Superintendent Michael Dunn said the district had 3,200 students five yers ago and forecasts 4,100 students five years from now.

School board members have been holding meetings for voters with questions about the levy this week and will hold another one tonight at 6:30 at Sunset Elementary School, 12824 W. 12th, Airway Heights.

Although the election is March 11, Dunn said it’s important to note that funds won’t be collected from taxpayers right away.

“If it passes,” he said, “we don’t collect any funds until spring of 2009.”

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