Quilcene and Brinnon residents are voting on proposed education programs and operations levies in their districts in the Feb. 11 special election.
Quilcene School District is asking voters to approve both an Educational Programs & Operations (EP&O) levy and a capital levy on its ballot while Brinnon School District placed an EP&O levy on its ballot.
Ballots were mailed to south Jefferson County registered voters on Jan. 22, with 1,537 ballots issued in the Quilcene School District and 1,059 ballots mailed to Brinnon School District, said Quinn Grewell, Jefferson County election coordinator.
All three levies require a simple majority of 50 percent plus one to pass, officials said.
The four-year approximately $2.4 million EP&O levy for Quilcene (Proposition 1) is a replacement of the current levy, and if passed, voters will pay the same $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value as they have been paying, said Frank Redmon, Quilcene School District superintendent.
The EP&O levy helps support the district’s breakfast and lunch program, a full-time counselor, district transportation, and allows the district to have single grade classrooms and art and music programs, Redmon said.
“The EP&O levy allows us to continue to offer what we’ve been offering,” Redmon said.
The capital levy (Proposition 2) for Quilcene will have voters paying an additional $1.97 per $1,000 assessed value, which would be in place for two years for a total of $1.63 million in preparation for a possible bond proposal, Redmon said.
The capital levy would be used to fix facility issues such as replacing the “aging and unfixable” bus barn, moving the barn to across Rose Street and moving the student bus pick-up and drop-off to the same side of the street as the school — so students no longer have to cross the street to get to and from the busses — while updating the parent drop-off area to make it more “efficient for the parents and safer for the students,” Redmon said.
“The main trust is improving the safety and security for students around the drop-off and pick-up area,” Redmon said.
In addition to the facility repairs, the capital levy would also help fund long term facility planning to replace the aging elementary school through a possible future bond and allow work to begin on an outdoor educational space, Redmon said.
The Brinnon EP&O levy (Proposition 1) is an approximate $600,000 levy that at most would have voters paying $1.02 per $1,000 per assessed value, which is similar to the current rates of the EP&O levy, said Trish Beathard, Brinnon School District superintendent.
The EP&O levy supports the free preschool program for 3-and-4-year-old Brinnon students, supplements the breakfast and lunch program; helps with building maintenance and repairs, utility and operating expenses and required fees for sending high school students to neighboring districts; as well as an extra day of counseling for student and classroom support and unfunded educational programs, Beathard said.
The preschool program specifically has a large class of 14 students, Beathard said.
“It’s an important vote for our children and our community,” Beathard said. “I think a yes vote helps our Brinnon families have a great school.”
As of Wednesday afternoon, the county elections office has received 351 ballots, said Sandi Eldridge, voters registration coordinator.
“I encourage everyone to vote,” Redmon said. “I would love to see a high level of participation from our voters.”
Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at [email protected].