School levy issues will be decided today

Ballots must be returned by 8 p.m.

Today is Election Day in Clark and Skamania counties.

In Washougal, voters are being asked to cast their ballots on the school district’s two replacement levies that would fund maintenance and operations and technology.

Although the levies are not new, the amounts have been increased to keep pace with increased enrollment and allow the district to expand in several educational areas, according to officials.

Levies have been set at $700,000 per year for the technology levy, and $6.3 million in 2015, $6.52 million in 2016 and $6.8 million in 2017 for the operations levy.

The maintenance and operations levy will be approximately $19.6 million over three years, with an estimated average rate of $3.31 per $1,000 of assessed value. This means the owner of a $250,000 home would pay approximately $827.50 per year. The expiring levy is $2.89 per $1,000, which translates into $722 per year.

The technology levy will be approximately $2.1 million over three years, with an estimated rate of 34 to 37 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. This means the owner of a $250,000 home would pay approximately $92.50 per year. The expiring levy is 13 cents per $1,000, which translates into approximately $32 per year.

Local levy dollars constitute more than 20 percent of the school district budget and provide funds that support student health and school safety, sports programs, extracurricular learning, performing arts opportunities.

The levies must earn simple 50 percent majority of votes to pass.

According to Clark County Elections Supervisor Cathie Garber, as of Monday 2,293 voters in the Washougal School District boundaries have returned their ballots. There are a total of 10,389 registered voters within this jurisdiction. That’s a 22 percent turnout so far.

In addition, 1,385 WSD voters live in Skamania County and so far 411 of them have returned ballots, according to David O’Brien, Skamania County elections official.

The Woodland and Mount Pleasant school districts also have replacement maintenance and operations levies on the Feb. 11 ballot.

Ballots must either be postmarked by today, or hand-delivered today by 8 p.m. to drop off sites at the Washougal Community Center, or the Clark County Elections Department or red ballot drop box at West 14th and Esther streets, in Vancouver.

Election results will be posted at www.camaspostrecord.com at approximately 8:30 tonight.