Replacement levies on Crescent ballot

Voters to decide measures in February

PORT ANGELES — Joyce voters in February will decide on replacement levies that would provide $3.26 million to the Crescent School District to fund building needs and support student activities.

The school board approved at its Nov. 21 meeting two property tax levies to be placed on the Feb. 13 special election ballot: an educational, programs and operations (EP&O) levy that would collect $690,000 a year for four years and a capital projects levy that would collect $125,000 a year for four years.

Revenue collection would begin in 2025 and end in 2028.

The EP&O levy would be renewed at an estimated rate starting at $1.056 per $1,000 in assessed property value in 2025 and gradually decrease to a rate of $0.967 in 2028.

The capital projects levy would collect the same amount each year as the existing levy ($125,000) and be renewed at an estimated rate starting at $0.188 per $1,000 in assessed property value in 2025 and gradually decrease to a rate of $0.172 in 2028.

Superintendent David Bingham said the district carefully considered what it really needed and what it believed the community would support.

“We think that this is very reasonable and very fair and affordable to our taxpayers,” Bingham said. “This helps us maintain what we have without adding a whole lot.”

There is nothing fancy on the list of levy capital projects, which includes repainting the high school, replacing the roof on the shop building, repaving the playground area and upgrading drainage pipe to prevent water from pooling outside the gym.

In 2020, voters approved by a 66 percent margin (65.62 percent) the existing EP&O levy, which authorized the district to collect $520,000 annually from 2020 to 2024. Voters approved by a margin of 67 percent (67.07 percent) the existing capital projects levy, which authorized the district to collect $125,000 a year.

Bingham said demonstrating to the community how funds from the 2020 levy are being used just as the district said they would be was important.

“Four years ago, we identified areas that needed to be upgraded that would add 25 years to their useful life,” Bingham said.

That capital levy paid for upgrades to the boys and girls locker rooms, the kitchen and cafeteria and the band room.

The district is currently working on having a new generator installed and a service panel replaced.

Bingham said the district had opted for capital levies since the 1960s rather than bond measures because it did not want to take on bonded debt. Additionally, levies are usually easier for small districts to pass because approval requires a simple majority (50 percent plus 1) of “yes” votes to pass, while bonds require a supermajority (60 percent).

The district also is seeking resources outside the community for financial assistance in upgrades to its aging buildings.

“There are some funding opportunities for small rural schools that we are looking at,” Bingham said. “We are also looking at the Legislature for funding and there is also a grant for the elementary building and timber dollars.”

The EP&O levy voters approved in 2020 bridged the gap between state funding and the district’s actual costs. It has enabled Crescent to elevate the music teacher from a part-time to full-time position, fund athletics and develop its popular welding program, Bingham said.

Levy dollars don’t fully cover the costs of activities, but they do make them possible, Bingham said.

Information about the Crescent School District levies can be found on the district’s website: tinyurl.com/yscb3dbe.

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Reporter Paula Hunt can be reached at paula.hunt@peninsuladailynews.com.

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