Replacement levy important for Port Angeles schools, official says

PORT ANGELES — If the Port Angeles School District replacement levy fails in February, cuts are likely to such after-school programs as music, sports, vocational classes and tutoring, Assistant Superintendent Chuck Lisk said Tuesday.

He told those at a packed weekly Port Angeles Business Association meeting Tuesday that when the replacement levy failed in 1969, results were catastrophic.

Class sizes ballooned and sports and music were cut.

‘In 1969, it was gone’

“Sixty percent of our students take band, choir or orchestra,” he said. “In 1969, it was gone.”

The Port Angeles School District is asking voters to approve a $36.4 million educational programs and operation replacement levy that would fund 22 percent of the district’s daily operating budget.

It isn’t a new tax.

If approved during the Feb. 14 election, the district would levy $9.1 million annually for four years starting in 2018. It is a renewal of the levy approved by voters in 2015, which is set to expire at the end of 2017.

The estimated property tax levy per $1,000 assessed valuation would be $3.30 in 2018, $3.26 in 2019, $3.23 in 2020 and $3.20 in 2021.

The levy helps fund the district’s vocational classes, which equip students to compete for jobs, said Cindy Crumb, Lincoln High School principal.

“Kids on the [North Olympic] Peninsula need to be able to compete on the I-5 corridor, and they can’t do that if we don’t have the equipment they purchase in Seattle,” she said.

Steve Methner, co-chairman of Port Angeles Citizens for Education, said even if the state fully funds basic education, as required by the McCleary decision, the district would still need to seek a levy.

“If the state does magically become effective … it would probably mean 10 percent of our budget,” he said, adding that 10 percent is a rough number.

Officials said that of the 4,000 students in the district, 14 percent are in special education programs. The state funds only up to 12.7 percent of disabled students, in addition to other education funding, Crumb said.

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Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected] dailynews.com.

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