EDITORIAL: Yes, in Chimacum

Posted 1/17/17

Of all school districts in the state that should be passing a maintenance and operations (M&O) levy, it’s Chimacum School District No. 49.

It’s not because the district relies on M&O …

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EDITORIAL: Yes, in Chimacum

Posted

Of all school districts in the state that should be passing a maintenance and operations (M&O) levy, it’s Chimacum School District No. 49.

It’s not because the district relies on M&O money for 22 percent of its budget, but because it was people in Chimacum who started what now is an important statewide conversation about how to fund basic education.

Chimacum district voters are well-educated on the subject and know full well that the state has not been funding the cost of education, as it is obligated to do under the state’s constitution.

Until state legislators and Gov. Jay Inslee figure out how to implement the so-called McCleary decision – named after the family of Jefferson County resident Stephanie McCleary – local property tax levies are necessary.

So, on Feb. 14, voters in Chimacum are being asked to approve a four-year replacement M&O levy that would raise $3,200,000 in 2018, $3,595,000 in 2019, $3,775,000 in 2020 and $3,965,000 in 2021.

It’s estimated that the levy would cost property owners $1.82 per $1,000 of assessed property value in 2018, increasing to $2.08 per $1,000 in the fourth year. The exact amount could vary as the total assessed property value within the district boundary could grow.

Chimacum has an excellent track record with passing M&O levies. In 2009, 2011 and 2014, the levies all received more than 60 percent voter approval. Only 50 percent voter approval is needed.

Ballots for this M&O are to be mailed locally Wednesday, Jan. 25.

What must be on the minds of school officials is the reality that the past three tries to approve a school construction bond have all failed.

And what must have been heartwarming news last week is that the Jefferson County Republican Party unanimously voted to endorse the levy, according to Jon Cooke, GOP chair.

It’s likely Jefferson Healthcare district commissioners, who also have been supportive of levies and bonds in the past, could follow suit with supportive votes this week.

What a good way to start the new year in Jefferson County – with a yes for education and for the community’s future.

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