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Voters Ok School Levy

Trout Lake residents show overwhelming support for schools

Voters in the Trout Lake School District have maintained their record of strong support for the local school system.

Results from the Feb. 8 special maintenance and operations election showed overwhelming approval for the two-year replacement tax levy measure.

Unofficial returns as of Feb. 10 were as follows:

Yes: 217 votes; 73.81 percent;

No: 77 votes; 26.19 percent.

"We're very, very happy with the results and really appreciative of the community support for our school," said Doug Dearden, the superintendent of the Trout Lake School District. "People are very generous, and that speaks highly of our community."

The M&O levy is expected to raise $237,000 in 2006-2007, and $230,500 in 2007-2008. The levy assesses property owners approximately $2.28 per $1,000 of assessed property valuation. The rate drops to $2.16 in the second year.

In addition, approval of the levy makes the school district eligible to receive an estimated $57,000 a year of "levy equalization" money, which would not have been forthcoming if the levy had been defeated.

"This is not the easiest of times, with valuations going up on people's property. We're very thrilled with the support," Dearden said.

Money raised via the property tax levy goes to pay for maintenance and operations expenses not otherwise covered by basic education funding from the state.

"We'll be able to continue with the good programs we have, as well as include other things, like a new planer for our shop and up to date equipment for music and technology," Dearden added.

Dearden said new computers would be purchased to ensure students are working with modern equipment, and musical instruments will also be bought.

As the school levy was a tax measure, a supermajority of 60 percent was required for passage, and that threshold was easily met. A second requirement was for the precincts voting to have at least 40 percent of the turnout of the previous election, and that standard was also met. The turnout in the two Trout Lake precincts voting in the special election was pegged at just under 41 percent.

In a separate election in the county also held Feb. 8, citizens in the Wahkiacus area decided who they wanted to serve as their fire commissioners in newly-formed Fire District No. 15.

Five candidates were on the ballot, and voters were allowed to vote for up to three candidates, with the top three vote-getters chosen to serve as commissioners.

In unofficial and incomplete returns, Albert Parente, Janet Hall, and Darrell Woodruff were leading for the three seats.

The results were as follows:

Albert Parente: 23 votes, 27.06 percent;

Janet Hall: 23 votes, 27.06 percent;

Darrell Woodruff: 22 votes, 25.88 percent;

Bradley Knowland: 10 votes, 11.76 percent;

Terry Moulton: 4 votes, 4.71 percent.

There were three write-in votes.

Results in both of these elections will be certified on Feb. 18.

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