White Salmon isn't the only school district taking levy measures to the voters on Feb. 6. The Trout Lake School District and the Klickitat School District also are asking for voter support of their respective maintenance & operations (M&O) levies.
The superintendent of the Trout Lake School District, Doug Dearden, said the levy measure going before Trout Lake voters is not a new tax, but rather replaces the existing levy residents pay to support the local schools.
"It's a replacement levy," Dearden explained. "We're keeping the levy about the same. Actually, it's a little less than last time. It's about $2.02 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. Right now it's about $2.30 per $1,000."
According to Dearden, the levy money would go toward existing services and maintenance items, building repairs and upgrades, improvements to the parking lot, heating and air conditioning repairs and/or replacement, upgrading computer systems, upgrading the shop to create more welding stations, building a storage center for the band instruments, and other items.
The measures are as follows:
Klickitat: "Shall a tax levy of $90,000 be collected in 2008, 2009, and 2010 requiring approximately $2.95 per $1,000 of assessed valuation for the Klickitat School District No. 402 to provide funds necessary to maintain and operate the general education program?"
Trout Lake: "This proposition would authorize the district to levy the following excess taxes, in place of an expiring levy, upon all taxable property within the district, for support of the district's General Fund educational maintenance and operations expenses."
The levy collections in the Trout Lake School District are projected to be as follows: 2008/2009: $2.02 per $1,000. 2009/2010: $1.86 per $1,000.
A mailer produced by the Trout Lake School District pointed out that school districts gain additional funding from the state only if the levies are approved.
"In any given year, state and federal funding provides approximately 87 percent of the cost to run the Trout Lake School District. A local levy is expected to provide an additional 10 percent. The state provides the remaining three percent in levy equalization only if the levy passes," read an excerpt from the school district's mailing.
Dearden added that he is optimistic Trout Lake's voters will continue to invest in their schools.
"I'm really positive," he said. "Last time, we had about 74 percent approval. We've had a lot of support in the past, and the community takes a lot of pride in their schools."
Voters in Trout Lake vote at the Trout Lake Grange Hall. Polls are open from 7 a.m.-8 p.m.
Voters in the Klickitat School District precincts cast their ballots entirely by mail.