Quillayute school officials plan upgrades after vote
Lonnie Archibald/for Peninsula Daily News
School maintenance supervisor Bill Henderson and School District Superintendant Diana Reaume talk of needed repairs on a sidewalk near the school football field. It is heavily used by Forks Elementary School students as well as parents for various sports activities.
By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News
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A replacement maintenance-and-operations levy passed Tuesday by a 2-to-1 margin, with 663 votes, or 67.93 percent, for, to 313, or 32.07 percent, against.
Only a simple majority was needed for passage.
Passage not only provides the district with operating funds, but it also means the district can collect an additional
$2 million a year in levy equalization funds from the state.
The levy will generate $628,000 annually, which has been earmarked for multiple projects, from 2014 through 2017.
“The highest priority is safety,” Superintendent Diana Reaume said Wednesday.
The district plans to add safety upgrades to crosswalks and sidewalks on South Elderberry Avenue, near the entrance to Forks Elementary School.
The use of “smart boards” — electronic interactive blackboards — at the newly built Forks High School addition has been so successful, Reaume said, that the district will upgrade the electrical systems and install a few each year in classrooms at Forks Middle and Forks Elementary schools.
“At the high school level, they are used every day,” she said.
The district also plans to resurface the Spartan Stadium track, put new drain vents on the Forks Middle School roof, re-roof Forks Alternative School and the Independent Learning Center Annex, replace district motor pool vehicles, replace the middle school freezer and 1970s-era carpeting at Forks Elementary, and purchase textbooks.
Continuing expenses funded by the levy include funding painting and cleaning supplies, minor repairs to buildings and school properties, and the replacement of textbooks and classroom supplies.
It also funds the music program, extracurricular activities such as athletic coach salaries and field upkeep, three teaching positions and the cost of field trips.
The amount that will be collected is identical to that generated by the existing two-year levy, school officials said.
The estimated levy rate is expected to decline from $1.45 per $1,000 of assessed property value, or $145 annually for a $100,000 home in 2014, to $1.42 per $1,000 of assessed property value, or $141 annually for a $100,000 home in 2017.
A portion of the school district crosses into Jefferson County, so two sets of votes were counted, the majority of them in Clallam County.
As of Wednesday morning, a total of 1,030 ballots of the 3,242 ballots mailed to voters were returned in the district, or a 31.77 percent return rate.
On Tuesday, Clallam County counted 948 ballots, and Jefferson County counted 28 ballots.
One envelope was empty, said Clallam County Auditor Patty Rosand on Wednesday morning.
Another 49 ballots were received Wednesday in Clallam County for a total of 997 ballots received in the county, Rosand said.
Rosand said she expects most of those ballots still in the mail system to arrive this week.
They will be counted Friday.
“By Friday, it will pretty much be done” she said.
The final vote count for straggling ballots that arrive late from overseas and military voters will take place just before the election is certified Feb. 26.
An additional five ballots that arrived Wednesday brought the number to 33 in Jefferson County.
In Jefferson County, the next ballot count will be Feb. 26, Jefferson Auditor Donna Eldridge said.
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last modified: February 13. 2013 6:15PM