ROYAL CITY, MATTAWA — Voters in two local school districts will decide on replacement proposals for Educational Programs and Operations (EP&O) in a special election on Feb. 8.
Levy proposals are on the ballot in the Royal and Wahluke school districts. Because they are school levies, they require a simple majority, 50% plus one vote, to pass.
In the Royal School District, voters decide on a two-year levy proposal, which would generate $1.37 million a year. It would replace a two-year voter-approved levy in 2020.
If the tax is approved, landowners in the district would pay about $1.61 per $1,000 of estimated land value in 2023 and $1.59 per $1,000 of estimated land value in 2024. That’s about the same as the tax approved in 2020.
The owner of a property valued at $200,000 could pay approximately $318 in the first year and $322 in the second year. A landowner whose property was valued at $300,000 could pay about $477 in the first year and about $483 in the second year.
Voters in the Wahluke School District will also vote on a two-year levy. If approved, the levy would generate $2.23 million in 2023 and $2.35 million in 2024.
If the proposal wins voter approval, property owners will pay $2.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value in both years. Wahluke Superintendent Andy Harlow said it was the same rate as the current levy, approved by voters in 2020.
A homeowner whose property has a taxable value of $200,000 would pay $500 a year in taxes. The owner of a property with a taxable value of $300,000 would pay $750 in taxes for the royalty.
Both districts use the money generated from the tax to fill gaps in programs and services that are not adequately funded by public and federal school funds, and to pay for programs that are not funded by the state at all. State. This includes everything from extracurricular activities, from the junior high school basketball program to elementary robotics teams, from high school FFA and Future Business Leaders of America clubs to elementary field trips.
In both districts, some of the levy money is used to pay for additional teachers and counselors. State officials use a formula, based on the number of students in school, to determine how many teachers and counselors will be funded with state money. Districts that want more teachers and counselors than the state apportionment pays, including Royal and Wahluke, make up the difference with locally approved levy funds.
Both districts use levy money to fund additional health services, vocational and technical education programs, and to upgrade district technology, among other things.
Ballots must be cast or postmarked by February 8. A ballot box is available next to the Confluence Health Clinic in Royal City, 101 Camelia St. NE. The Mattawa Area drop box is across from the Mattawa Community Clinic, 210 Government Road.