Port Angeles school levy contest close with majority opposed; Cape Flattery levy passes

PORT ANGELES — Voters in the Port Angeles School District apparently rejected a six-year $46.7 million capital facilities levy — although initial results are close — while Cape Flattery School District voters approved a two-year $550,000 educational programs and operations levy in the first count of ballots tonight.

The proposed six-year levy for the Port Angeles School District received 4,008 votes, or 48.78 percent, in favor and 4,209 votes, or 51.22 percent, opposed in the first count of ballots tonight.

The proposed two-year levy for the Cape Flattery School District received 217 votes, or 78.34 percent, in favor and 60 votes or 21.66 percent opposed.

The Clallam County Auditor’s Office counted 8,497 ballots out of 21,854 mailed to registered voters in the Port Angeles, Clallam Bay-Sekiu and Neah Bay areas for a voter turnout of 38.89 tonight.

The Auditor’s Office said that, in the Port Angeles School District, 8,220 ballots were received out of 20,660 mailed to registered voters for a voter turnout of 39.78 percent, and that in the Cape Flattery School District, 277 ballots were received out of 1,093 mailed to registered voters for a voter turnout of 25.34 percent.

A second count is planned by 4:30 p.m. Friday.

Port Angeles district voters considered a levy that would fund an expansion and major renovations at Stevens Middle School, freeing up space at each elementary school.

The Port Angeles levy would collect $46.7 million for capital facilities if approved by a simple majority of 50 percent plus one vote.

It would cost property owners in the district $2.47 per $1,000 of assessed value from 2019 through 2024.

The proposed levy would fund a 14-classroom expansion and upgrades to the existing Stevens Middle School, which was built in 1960 and houses nearly 550 seventh- and eighth-graders.

With modern classrooms, space for 900 students and a new bus lane to alleviate traffic congestion, sixth-graders would be moved back to Stevens if the levy passes.

Moving sixth graders would allow the elementary schools to meet new minimum class size requirements.

In 2015, the district failed to get the 60-percent supermajority it needed to pass a 25-year, $98.2 million bond that would have funded the replacement of Port Angeles High School.

District officials have since developed a long-term, pay-as-you-go plan that begins with Stevens Middle School.

Future levies would be proposed to rebuild Franklin Elementary in 2024 and Port Angeles High School and Hamilton Elementary in 2030.

Voters in the Cape Flattery School District were considering a levy that would fund smaller class sizes, extracurricular activities and enhancement activities like drug and alcohol prevention and after school programs.

The levy would generate $275,000 for programs and operations in each of the next two years.

The estimated levy rate is $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

It would replace a $375,000 levy that will expire at the end of this year, Superintendent Michelle Parkin said.

“We could not get by without this funding,” Parkin said. “With the levy also comes levy equalization funding that the state provides, and that assists us because we don’t have the same tax base as an urban community has. So we’re depending on that funding to be able to continue to sustain the services for our students.”

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