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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Freeman School District levy fails again

Freeman Elementary School fourth-grade teacher Desiree Hendrickson sets up her classroom on Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023, in preparation for the start of school on Aug. 30. It's Hendrickson's 10th year at Freeman.  (DAN PELLE/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
By Elena Perry and Garrett Cabeza The Spokesman-Review

For the second time this year, Freeman voters failed to support the school district’s $5 million capital levy.

The levy for the small district outside Rockford garnered 42.7% approval, with 57.3% of voters rejecting it Tuesday night.

Freeman Superintendent Randy Russell said he was “extremely disappointed” in the preliminary results.

He said he knew the district had ground to make up from February’s results when the levy failed by 47 votes, or 2.5%.

“I felt like we had really listened to community members about their questions and concerns,” Russell said Tuesday night.

The levy would have taxed property owners at $1.25 per $1,000 in assessed property value and would have funded several projects surrounding school safety, security, technology and infrastructure.

In an interview last week, Russell said the district better communicated its intentions with collected taxes and hoped transparency would inspire more support from voters. The amount in the ask remained the same.

Intended projects included campus-wide safety upgrades to cameras and access control systems, Chromebook replacement, bond repayment, repairs to each school, the field, the district’s well and parking lots.

Russell said last week if the levy should repeat February’s failure, the school board would select only the most dire capital needs from the intended projects list and pay for them through the general budget. This would require reductions in other areas, he said.

Russell said Tuesday night that district officials will go back to the drawing board and have tough conversations and decisions.

“We’ll really have to go back to square one,” he said.