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Thousands of ballots head to Whidbey voters

January 19, 2013 · Updated 2:40 PM
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Elections workers Susan Hamilton and M’lissa Christopherson prepare ballots to be mailed for school district levy elections in February. / Nathan Whalen / The Record

RECORD STAFF

Ballots for two school district levy elections were mailed to military voters last week and voters on South and North Whidbey Island should receive their ballots next week.

Both the South Whidbey and Oak Harbor school districts are running tax levy proposals for voters to consider on Feb. 12.

The Island County Auditor’s office mailed out approximately 2,000 ballots last week to military voters. The remaining ballots, about 30,000, will be mailed to voters next week. Ballots must be postmarked no later than Feb. 12 to be counted.

The South Whidbey School District is running two levy proposals next month. The first is a maintenance and operations levy that comprises nearly $4 million of the South End school district’s $15 million budget. According to Jo Moccia, South Whidbey schools superintendent, the maintenance and operation levy is ongoing and the district is seeking no increase in the levy. The present rate is $1.04 per thousand of assessed property value.

The second is a capital/technology projects levy that will bring in $2 million per year for six years, up from the current $950,000. Of the $2 million, $750,000 would fund technology while the remainder would be used to take on deferred maintenance projects, such as roofing, siding, HVAC, painting and plumbing. If passed, this levy would increase taxes by an estimated 33 cents per thousand, bringing it to 53 cents per thousand of assessed valuation.

The Oak Harbor School District is asking voters to approve a levy that will raise $7.35 million a year for the next four years. The levy will cost a homeowner $1.98 per $1,000 assessed property value. If approved, the owner of a $250,000 home will pay $495 a year.

North Whidbey school officials said the levy proposal will help restore some of the cuts they have made in recent years due to budget reductions.

If approved, $3.2 million of the levy will continue to pay for 20 teachers that have been funded by the current levy plus restoring 14 teaching positions of the 34 that have been lost due to budget cuts. The levy will provide $700,000 in athletics, music and tutoring. It will restore the activity bus, after-school tutoring and restores some assistant coaching positions. The levy will restore middle school athletics, and protect current athletic programs, music and other activities from likely cuts.

Oak Harbor’s levy also includes $500,000 for student health and safety, $1.65 million for maintenance and custodial and 2.3 million for textbooks and computers.

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