Aberdeen School District asking voters for funding in February Special Election
Aberdeen, WA – As one election ends, the Aberdeen School Board is already planning for the next election in February.
In a release, the Aberdeen School District announced that the board has unanimously decided to ask voters to approve two
measures during the February 2020 special election:
- Renewal of the existing enrichment levy that pays for programs not funded by the state, and
- A bond issue to build a new Stevens Elementary School.
“These important investments are structured so that taxpayers will not see an increase above 2017 rates,” Superintendent Alicia Henderson said.
“Bonds are for building, levies are for learning,” Henderson added, citing a phrase often used to help differentiate between the two funding sources. “The enrichment levy is critical for day-to-day operations. And now, with the bonds for Aberdeen High School due to be paid off by 2024, it is time to keep the promise that Stevens School is Next.”
On the levy, the district plans to ask for $3.2 million levy to continue the existing tax that funds programs and operations that “enhance” education, most notably music, athletics, technology and curriculum. The current levy levy is set to expire in 2020 and voters are being asked to extend it for four years at the current rate of $2.50 per $1,000 of assessed property valuation.
Superintendent Henderson said that establishing the levy for the next four years, instead of the traditional two years, is intended to provide certainty about tax rates at a time when the district is also requesting authority to build a new school.
“Aberdeen voters have supported this levy for many years,” she said. “As we prepare to build a new school, the Board wanted our community to have the assurance that we are not planning to ask for an increase in the enrichment levy.”
The bond for a new Stevens School will ask voters to approve up to $46.8 million for a new school to replace the existing structure that was built in 1951 and they say has not seen significant investment since a modernization project in the 1970s.
The district says that they are anticipating receiving about $5 million in state construction funds and has been awarded a $3 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to build a vertical evacuation tower in the event of a tsunami or other natural disaster as part of the build. They add that additional funding sources are being explored.