Chimacum School Board votes to put levy on February ballot

Posted 11/27/20

The Chimacum School District will put a property tax levy measure before voters in February to pay for educational programs and operations.

The four-year levy is a replacement measure for a …

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Chimacum School Board votes to put levy on February ballot

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The Chimacum School District will put a property tax levy measure before voters in February to pay for educational programs and operations.

The four-year levy is a replacement measure for a current one for Chimacum schools that expires this year, and the Chimacum School Board passed a resolution at its meeting last week to set the amounts of the levy.

If approved by voters during a special election Feb. 9, the levy will assess
85.7 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value in 2021.

The levy rate per $1,000 will fall in the following years to 84.4 cents in 2023,
83.1 cents in 2024, and
81.7 cents in 2025.

The levy is expected to raise $2.1 million for schools in 2022, the first year that taxes will be received by the district. In 2023, it will bring in $2.15 million; in 2024,
$2.2 million; and in 2025, $2.25 million.

The measure will be called Proposition 1 on the ballot.

The amount raised by the tax levy over the next four years is an estimate on the growth of the assessed value of property in the school district’s boundaries, said Art Clarke, head of finance operations for the district.

“We’re actually being conservative,” Clarke told the board.

He noted that property values in Chimacum, and especially Port Ludlow, took a while to recover from the 2008 downturn in the economy. 

Over the past few years, however, the assessed value of property in Chimacum has been growing.

The property tax levy pays for educational programs and operations not covered by the state’s basic education funding.

District officials began talking about replacing the existing M&O levy (which will be called an “educational programs and operations levy,” or EPO) earlier this year.

The current levy was approved by voters with a
62 percent “yes” vote in 2017. The district also passed a six-year capital projects and technology levy in 2018, but use of those revenues are restricted and can’t be used to supplement teacher salaries or pay for other operations.

School Board Chair Kristina Mayer said she was optimistic that voters will approve Prop. 1, based on the success of other school districts at the ballot box this year.

She added that residents understand the district is facing a variety of different costs that have come in part from the COVID-19 pandemic, and having to conduct learning in two different environments; online and in-person.

“I’m very hopeful that our community understands that and will support us,” Mayer said.

District Superintendent David Engle said Maren Johnson has agreed to be the chair of the community committee that will promote the levy.

“She stepped up and we have several other community members that are willing to help with that project. So that’s good news for us,” Engle said.

The announcement prompted an enthusiastic “Yes!” from others on the board.

“That’s amazing. I’m so excited about that,” Mayer said.

Johnson is a former science teacher for Chimacum and worked for the school district for 19 years. She is currently an associate director for Educator Preparation and Credentialing for the Washington State Professional Educator Standards Board.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled that Maren said yes,” Mayer added. “That is exciting. It’s going to make a difference for us, I think.”

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