By SVERRE BAKKE
Voters of Trout Lake School District No. 406 soon will be receiving mail-in ballots for a replacement two-year maintenance and operations levy that, if approved, will cost district taxpayers $824,000 over two years.
Estimated cost of the levy per $1,000 of assessed valuation will be an estimated $2.23 in 2010 and 2011. The levy will raise $412,000 per year--about 15 percent of the district's budget--to pay for education-related expenses not covered by state and federal funding (roughly 83% percent of revenue).
Moreover, if (and only if) voters OK the replacement levy, the state will provide the remaining 2 percent of revenue from levy equalization funds--approximately $50,000 per year for the two years.
"This levy will allow the district to maintain the current level of educational services, as well as provide some needed facilities maintenance and curriculum and technology expansion," Trout Lake Schools Supt. Doug Dearden noted.
Voters who take part in the special election must return their ballots to the Klickitat County Auditor's Office on or before Feb. 3. (Ballots postmarked Feb. 3 will be counted.)
According to an informational brochure put together by the school district, about 75 percent of levy funds will be used to maintain current staffing levels, class and extracurricular activities like athletics, music and Destination ImagiNation.
The extra money will be used to repair the existing roof, maintain the heating/ventilation/air-conditioning system, repair kitchen appliances and re-pave the parking lot, plus pay for new flooring throughout the building and new furniture for the library, as well as for curriculum that's aligned with the state's new K-12 math standards, technology that enhances instruction and student learning, and a new school vehicle.
Passage--or failure--of the proposed M&O levy will be by a simple majority of those who participate in the election.
"If this levy passes, Trout Lake School District will still have a very low rate per thousand relative to other school districts in the county," Dearden noted, adding, "The bond for our school will be paid off in 2009 and taxpayers will no longer have this obligation."