Voters approve Port Angeles School District replacement levy

PORT ANGELES — Port Angeles School District voters have approved a $5.6 million education programs and operations replacement levy set to begin in 2022.

A simple 50-percent-plus-1 majority was required to pass the measure on Tuesday’s general election ballot.

The levy rate will stay at the current $1.50 per $1,000 of valuation to continue paying for music education, athletics, special education services and student support services such as nurses and counselors, all expenditures not covered by state funding.

It is a renewal of the levy approved by voters in 2017, which will expire at the end of 2021.

“I feel it goes without saying that the district is really thankful the community continues to support our students and our schools,” said Jennifer Sperline, Port Angeles School District communications and community relations coordinator.

“We know this time is really different for a lot of different families in our community and we thank voters for having that foresight that in 2022 the world is looking very different and we can continue to provide the programs that the Port Angeles community loves to support, our music, education and athletics.”

According to a school district pie chart, music, nurses, counselors, mental health support and a school navigator account for 49 percent of levy funding; and athletics and extracurricular activities, 30 percent.

Staff needs “outside of the prototypical models for tech, maintenance, etc.” account for 30 percent; special education, including staff support and other needs, 5.6 percent; and technology hardware for a replacement budget for Chromebooks and other technology, 3.5 percent.

Sperline said the district was mindful of asking for too much financial support with the replacement levy after district voters approved a five-year, $52.6 million capital levy to replace Stevens Middle School last February.

“I think the district understood the lay of the land and what everyone is facing that goes beyond the school with COVID, economic issues, job losses,” Sperline said. “It was understood people may not be able to support this levy. Every four years the district comes to the community with an ask, and Superintendent (Marty) Brewer, staff and the school board decided to make that less of an ask this time.”

The $5.6 million includes levy equalization money that goes to districts with lower property taxes than the state average.

Sperline said fifth- and sixth-graders would begin returning to their classrooms under a hybrid model on Monday.

“We are really excited to have that element of students getting back to class, and with the levy results, it feels good to be gaining some momentum,” Sperline said.

By the numbers

PASD levy

Approve: 61 percent

Oppose: 40 percent

Totals are as of 4 p.m. Wednesday.

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Sports reporter Michael Carman can be contacted at 360-406-0674 or [email protected].

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