Camas school levies are passing

Majority of voters favor propositions that continue funding reduced class sizes, athletics programs, extracurricular activities and technology

Camas School District voters are passing two replacement levies tonight, in an election local school boosters have called “critical” to the future of Camas schools. 

With more than 80 percent of ballots already counted Tuesday, Feb. 9, the school district’s two, three-year replacement levies were passing by comfortable margins. 

The Educational Programs and Operations (EP&O) levy, known as Proposition 4, which would fund staff and programs not funded by state revenues — hiring teachers to help reduce Camas’ class sizes, offering extracurricular activities and athletics programs, and greatly supplementing the district’s school special education programs, libraries, nursing staff and transportation and food services — was passing 53.34 to 46.66 percent Tuesday night, with 4,588 “yes” votes to 4,014 “no” votes. 

The Technology, Health and Safety capital levy (Proposition 5), which would help pay for things not covered by state or federal revenues, such as technology for staff and students and building needs, including roofs, boilers and fire protection, had even more voter support and was passing 55.97 to 44.03 percent, with 4,732 “yes” votes to 3,723 “no” votes. 

The Feb. 9 Special Election had three questions on the ballot — Camas’ two school levies and a replacement E&O levy for the Battle Ground School District. Preliminary results showed the Battle Ground levy failing 46.67 to 53.33 percent Tuesday night, with 8,166 votes for and 9,331 votes against that district’s levy replacement. 

The EP&O levy would keep the district’s 2021 rate of $2.50 per $1,000 assessed property value (APV) the same for all three years of the renewal levies: 2022-24. The proposed rate for the technology-capital levy would increase from the 2021 rate of 28 cents per $1,000 APV to 54 cents per $1,000 APV due to the district’s increased capital needs. 

The school district estimates the total Camas school tax rate (levies plus bonds) will remain at the 2021 level of $4.77 per $1,000 APV rate in 2022, 2023 and 2024. This is because the school district’s capital improvement bond will decrease from $1.99 per $1,000 APV in 2021 to $1.73 per $1,000 in 2022-24. 

If approved, the three-year EP&O levy would bring the district an additional $17.18 million in 2022, $17.69 million in 2023 and $18.22 million in 2024. The technology-capital levy would add $3.71 million in 2022, $3.82 million in 2023 and $3.94 million in 2024. 

Voter turnout for the special election was around 33 percent. As of Tuesday, there were still 5,000 ballots left to count. The Clark County Elections Department planned to count more ballots at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 10.