QUILCENE — Voters have approved two levies for the Quilcene School District to continue educational programs and fund facility upgrades.
After the first vote count on Tuesday, the Educational Programs & Operations (EP&O) levy had won 303 votes, or 61.84 percent, while the capital levy won 261 votes, or 52.16 percent. Both need a simple majority of 50 percent plus one to pass.
“On behalf of the Quilcene Board of Education and the Quilcene School District, I thank the Quilcene community for entrusting us with your most precious gifts,” said Quilcene Superintendent Frank Redmon in a email Wednesday.
“That you have approved both the EP&O levy and the capital levy tells me that you value the work that we do with your children every day,” he continued.
“It also says that you trust our dedication to ensure your tax dollars are being used as efficiently as possible to maintain a safe, healthy and inclusive learning environment for kids and community.”
Redmon said he is not only grateful for his community but also for his staff, school board and the community members who helped organize the campaign for the levies.
The voter turnout for the Quilcene and Brinnon school district elections was 48.8 percent, with 1,274 ballots returned out of 2,606 provided registered voters, according to Jefferson County Election Coordinator Quinn Grewell.
The next count will be by 4 p.m. Friday.
More than 220 are left to count, Grewell said, adding that more in the all-mail election might come in this week. Fourteen ballots have been challenged, meaning signatures are unclear or missing or that they have some other problem. Voters can contact the Auditor’s Office to fix the challenges.
The four-year approximately $2.4 million EP&O levy for Quilcene is a replacement of the current levy.
Property owners will pay the same $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value as they have been paying, Redmon said.
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 capital levy will mean property owners will pay an additional $1.97 per $1,000 assessed value.
It 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 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 buses — while updating the parent drop-off area to make it more “efficient for the parents and safer for the students,” Redmon said.
The capital levy also would 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.
“At the end of the day, the taxpayers told us they trust the work that we do with their children,” Redmon said.
“They appreciate the way that we keep up the facilities, transport their kids to and from school, make and serve breakfast and lunches, keep our students safe, ensure they are learning and create a powerful learning environment where their kids feel welcome.”
Voters with challenged ballots have until 4:30 p.m. Feb. 20 to resolve the issues, Grewell said.
The final election certification will be at 1 p.m. Feb. 21 by the canvassing board.
Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 5, or at [email protected].