Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Spokane County voters support school levies, new high school in Central Valley

Posted By on Wed, Feb 14, 2018 at 12:16 PM

click to enlarge Spokane voters overwhelmingly supported schools last night - SPOKANE PUBLIC SCHOOLS/FACEBOOK
  • Spokane Public Schools/Facebook
  • Spokane voters overwhelmingly supported schools last night

By a wide margin, voters in the city of Spokane approved a Spokane Public Schools levy that supports basic education and activities. Voters also approved bond projects in Central Valley and Mead that will pay for new schools.

According to results from yesterday's special election, just under 73 percent of voters approved the Spokane Public Schools levy, which only needed more than 50 percent to pass. The levy will tack on $1.50 per 1,000 of assessed property value to property taxes 2019. It's a much lower rate than the rate of $3.77 per 1,000 of the previous levy.

That's because the Washington state legislature boosted state funding last year for basic education while capping the amount school districts can raise in levies. Essentially, it meant property taxes for levies at local school districts decrease, while state property taxes increase — though, combined, taxpayers in Spokane will pay less than before.

"We are thankful to the Spokane voters for their continued support of Spokane Public Schools," Superintendent Shelley Redinger said in a statement provided to the Inlander. "We are fortunate to live in a city that has always valued education and understands that through our schools we can build a stronger foundation for the future of our children and our community."

The levy will support things like extracurricular activities, campus resource officers, professional development of teachers and staff, and counselors and behavioral specialists.

But Spokane Public Schools wasn't the only district with a levy on the ballot yesterday. More than a dozen school districts — including Mead, Central Valley, and West Valley — had their own levies on the ballot in Spokane County, and all of them passed.

Notably, Central Valley passed a nearly $130 million bond that will allow it to build a new high school. District officials have said the new high school was sorely needed in order to accommodate growth in the district. The bond also will pay for a new middle school and the renovation of Horizon Middle School.

Mead's $114.5 million bond, approved by two-thirds of voters, will pay for a new middle school and a new elementary school.

"We very much appreciate this strong show of support from the Mead community," the district said.
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