OMAK Voters in several school districts in Okanogan and Ferry counties will find bond or levy requests on their Feb. 13 ballots.
In Okanogan County, Okanogan, Omak, Oroville Pateros and Tonasket school districts all have measures on the ballot. In Ferry County, Curlew and Republic districts are seeking voter approval of levy requests.
Ballots will be mailed Jan. 26 to registered voters in the affected Okanogan County districts. They went out last week in Ferry County.
Completed ballots must be returned to the appropriate county auditor’s office on or before Feb. 13.
Senior citizens and disabled people with a household income of $40000 or less per year may qualify for exemption from levies. Information is available from the Okanogan County Assessor’s office.
The Omak School District has two requests on the ballot, a bond issue to finance construction of a new middle school and a replacement educational programs and operation levy. Each stands independently of the other in terms of passage.
The bond measure needs at least a 60 percent yes vote to pass.
Levy requests require 50 percent plus one yes vote to pass.
The bond issue request, which would generate $27.856 million to build a new middle school, is proposed at an estimated $2.40 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, or about $240 for property assessed at $100,000.
Passage would generate about $7 million in state matching money.
The middle school building turns 70 this year.
“The infrastructure of a 1948 building is not holding up to the standards of 2018,” said a district fact sheet. “A new school will provide space for career-technical exploration, athletic facilities, music programs, arts programs, special education and community use.”
A new middle school would be built on district-owned property off Highway 97 south of the Okanogan County shop and across the highway and east of North 40 Outfitters.
District officials said the current middle school, 14 S. Cedar St., has about 350 students. They estimate the student population will grow by 100 students in the next few years “and we cannot fit them in the building as it us now,” the fact sheet said.
Property owners still are paying off the 2007 bond issue that paid for remodeling the high school and building the Career and Technical Education Center.
District officials structured the proposed bond issue’s tax rate so property owners would pay less toward redemption in 2019-2025 to avoid a sharp increase, said spokeswoman Sheila Corson. The high school bonds will be paid off in 2025.
The operations levy seeks $995,380 per year for two years, starting in 2019, at a collection rate estimated at $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.
Corson said the current operations levy, which expires in 2018, is being collected at $3.41 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. Changes in state funding led the district to change its levy request for subsequent years.
The proposed levy and bond issue are not dependent on one another for passage. If they do pass, each carries a state match.
The levy would generate about $6 million in state matching funds if it passes.
The combined levy and state matching money would support arts and music, vocational-technical programs, smaller class sizes, technology, athletics and other programs.
Voters will be asked to decide on a technology levy to replace the current one that expires this year.
The four-year levy would raise $271,389 per year at an estimated tax rate of 89 cents in 2019, 86 cents in 2020, 83 cents in 2021 and 81 cents in 2022. If approved by a simple majority, the measure would cost about $89 the first year for the owner of property assessed at $100,000.
The current technology costs about 93 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation.
Superintendent Richard Johnson said the money would be used to purchase student learning and teacher instruction tools, repair and install computer hardware and software, train staff to incorporate technology into daily lessons, improve communication between the school district and community, prepare students for post-secondary academic and vocational programs, and support school security measures.
Johnson said an informational brochure being sent out by district contains a typo, at one point referring to the request as a two-year levy. The request is for four years.
Voters will be asked to decide on a programs and operation levy of $830,000 for collection in 2019 and $900,000 for collection in 2020.
The estimated levy rate would be $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, or about $150 per year for the owner of property valued at $100,000.
If approved, the state would kick in another $1 million per year in levy equalization money.
Tonasket plans to use the money - which combined would make up 12 percent of the district’s budget - for building and grounds, special programs and staffing, co- and extra-curricular programs, and curriculum and technology.
Special programs and staffing include field trips, para-educators, art, music and physical education teaching staff, electives and counselors. Co- and extra-curricular includes drama, FFA, Future Business Leaders of America, Knowledge Bowl, yearbook, athletics, cheerleading and robotics.
The district is seeking voter approval of a programs and operation levy to be collected in 2019-2022 at an estimated rate of $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.
It would cost the owner of property valued at $100,000 about $150 per year.
The district is seeking $185,000 in 2019, $190,000 in 2020, $195,000 in 2021 and $200,000 in 2022.
Oroville is seeking approval of a maintenance and operations levy that would generate more than $1.49 million per year for collection in 2019 and 2020.
The estimated levy rate is $2.72 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, or about $272 per year for the owner of property valued at $100,000.
If the levy passes, the district would be eligible for $16,000 in state levy equalization money.
Levy money would go toward utilities, maintenance, extra-curricular programs, three non-teaching positions, transportation, curriculum, summer school, technology, music, substitutes, insurance, academic contests, HOSTS program, Knowledge Bowl, yearbook, sixth grade camp, lunch and breakfast, classroom materials, counselor, math and science programs, district assessment and maintenance supplies.
The levy accounts for about 23 percent of the district’s overall budget.
“A levy is a property tax to raise money to pay for essential goods and services that are not funded by the state and money to supplement local, state and federal funds that fall short of meeting the needs of the district,” a district fact sheet.
“You often hear that schools are fully funded by the state because the (state) Constitution requires them to pay for educational expenses. That is not accurate. The state only pays about 60 percent of the costs of operating a school district.”
Voters will be asked to decide on a four-year programs and operation levy of $664,000 per year for collection in 2019-2022.
The estimated levy rate is $2.95 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, or about $295 for the owner of property valued at $100,000.
The district is asking voters to decide on a four-year programs and operation levy of about $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed valuation for collection in 2019-2022.
If approved, the measure would generate $450,000 in 2019, $460,000 in 2020, $475,000 in 2021 and $490,000 in 2022. The owner of property valued at $100,000 would pay an estimated $150 per year.
If the measure is approved, the district would qualify for state levy equalization money of $1,500 per student.
The levy would support:
-Co-curricular and enrichment activities - Kindergarten through 12th grade music, debate, athletics and so on.
-Supplemental student transportation - Activity bus for athletics, bus maintenance, fuel and safety enhancements.
-Supplemental technology - Computers, projectors, school network and technology infrastructure.
-Building and grounds maintenance - General facility maintenance, custodial, fields, snow removal, heating and cooling units and general upkeep.