Voters will decide on replacement levies

Money will fund services not currently covered by the state

Superintendents will be featured at chamber luncheon

The Camas and Washougal school district superintendents will provide an annual State of the Schools address on Thursday, Jan. 19.

Presented by Camas School District Superintendent Jeff Snell and Washougal Superintendent Mike Stromme, the event will be held as part of the monthly Camas-Washougal Chamber of Commerce luncheon. It will be held at 11:30 a.m., at Camas Meadows Golf Club.

Snell and Stromme will talk about issues facing education in East Clark County, specifically Camas and Washougal Schools. They will address how the districts are responding to and planning for the facilities needs to continue to provide quality education in our growing communities.

Cost for the luncheon is $20 for chamber members and $25 for non-members.

For more information or to RSVP, call 834-2472 or email adminassistant@cwchamber.com.

Voters in both the Camas and Washougal school district will be asked to approve replacement levies in the Feb. 14, special election.

Washougal has put a three-year, $23.2 million replacement maintenance and operations levy and $2.4 million technology levy on the ballot. The levies would replace one set to expire Dec. 31, 2017.

The M & O levy funds services and operations not supported by the state or federal government, which include health and safety provisions, instructional materials, athletics and activities, student learning and staffing, and operations and maintenance.

Proposed levy rates will remain flat over three years, from 2018 to 2020, at $2.91 per $1,000 of assessed value.

Technology levy dollars pay for the district’s 1-to-1 tablet initiative, computers and devices, classroom instructional technology, professional development and coaching, technology infrastructure, and curriculum and software.

Proposed levy rates will remain flat over three years, at 30 cents per $1,000 of assessed value.

Levy dollars comprise almost 20 percent of the district budget, according to Superintendent Mike Stromme. If it is not approved, then the district would have to make budget cuts.

“In the event the levy was not approved, the district would need to assess staffing and programs needs,” he said. “The assessment of programs and services would inform how we prioritize services and make reductions that have a minimal impact to instructional programs and activities that serve students.”

The Camas School District will place a $67.4 maintenance and operations levy, and a $7.1 million technology levy on the ballot, to replace the current ones expiring at the end of the 2017.

There will be a slight increase in rates to cover rising costs, noted Superintendent Jeff Snell.

“Pushing our local levy to the 28 percent lid set by the state follows a historical pattern of trying to maximize local funding support while still maintaining a consistent tax rate for voters,” he said.

Snell noted that given the uncertainty at the state level around funding and a resolution to the McCleary case to fully fund education, the School Board felt it was important to consider setting a levy at the 28 percent level.

“The district is faced with sustained growth and is required to operate more buildings, tend more grounds and pay for additional staffing,” said board member Doug Quinn. “The state has not taken action to address the McCleary funding gap which leaves Camas residents to either step up or step away from our students’ education. We chose to stand in support of our children.”

For the first three years of the upcoming four-year levy cycle, Camas residents would pay an additional 6 cents per $1,000 of their assessed property value, for a total of $6.31 per $1,000 of assessed home value. In the fourth year, 2021, residents would pay less than they pay today, $5.38 per $1,000 of assessed property value, compared to today’s $6.25. This is because the district will be paying off bond debt.

For more information visit www.washougal.k12.wa.us/district-budget-information/levy/ or www.camas.wednet.edu/about-csd/budget-funding/levies/.