Joyce: Ballots distributed for fourth school levy try

JOYCE — Ballots for a Crescent School District four-year, $1.31 million maintenance and operations levy should be making their way into voters’ households.

The special election ending May 18 marks the fourth time in about a year that Crescent School Board members have asked voters to support a levy.

District leaders say the levy is needed to supplement the rural school’s budget.

Clallam County election officials mailed 1,552 ballots to voters in the Crescent School District last Wednesday.

Clallam County Auditor Cathleen McKeown said Friday that Crescent voters have returned nearly 100 ballots to her office.

A maintenance and operations levy failed in March by 58 percent to 42 percent, with 506 people voting yes and 368 no.

State law requires 60 percent voter support for levy passage.

School districts have two chances to present levies in a calendar year.

Two levy proposals also were defeated in 2003.

The elections have cost the district about $19,500.

If passed, the levy would generate $320,907 in 2005 and 2006, and $333,859 in 2007 and 2008.

Tax rate estimate

The estimated tax rate per $1,000 of assessed valuation the first two years is $1.75 and $1.82 per $1,000 of assessed valuation in 2007 and 2008.

At those rates, the owner of property valued at $100,000 would pay $175 in maintenance and operations taxes to the district in 2005 and 2006, and $182 in 2007 and 2008.

Due to past levy failures district officials postponed curriculum upgrades, reduced teacher training, delayed maintenance projects and slashed educational programs.

If the levy fails again, Crescent officials say the district will not be able to upgrade curriculum materials, send staff to training or repair and maintain buildings.

District officials also will not be able to reinstate elementary and middle school art programs or the school’s newspaper program, all eliminated because of past levy failures.

Parallel with Sequim vote

Crescent School District officials are sharing election costs with Sequim School District leaders, who are asking voters to approve a two-year $5.16 million replacement levy in an all-mail election ending the same day.

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