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Wednesday, January 8, 2014 | 75 cents

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School districts’ levies on the February ballot By Kevin Hanson Senior Writer

Voters in the Enumclaw and White River districts will soon be asked to decide the fate of a pair school levies – one of the basic “maintenance and operations” variety and another for technological enhancements. In Enumclaw’s case, both levies are of the replacement variety. In White River, the M&O proposal would take the place of an existing levy, while the technology levy seeks new dollars. All four levies will be decided as part of the Feb. 11 election. Ballots will be in the mail later this month and must be postmarked by election day. The four ballot measures require a simple majority for passage.

Enumclaw’s M&O levy

Honoring the 1973 White River state basketball champs Page 8

The M&O levy is pretty straightforward, with no surprises for anyone familiar with the way school districts operated in Washington state. The bulk of the district’s funding

comes from the state, collected in the form of property taxes, but districts also rely on local support. Enumclaw’s M&O levy – most recently approved in February 2010 – has come to represent about 20 percent of the district’s overall budget. M&O money is used for day-today operations within the district, specifically for things like utilities, transportation, special education, substitute teachers, athletics and activities, custodians, nurses and other specialists. Everyone who owns taxable property pays into the M&O levy and, during the course of Enumclaw’s four-year proposal, that would equate to more than $42 million. The February ballot measure would be for collections in 2015 through 2018, starting with $10.1 the first year and close to $10.8 million in year four. Individual tax collections are based on property values and Enumclaw taxpayers are now paying at a rate of $3.83 for every $1,000 of assessed property value. If the

February M&O levy is approved, the rate would jump slightly to an anticipated $3.89. That means an extra $15 per year for the owner of property – home and land – carrying an assessed value of $250,000.

White River’s M&O White River’s official ballot wording indicates the levy would be used to “support and maintain the district’s K-12 educational programs, fund day-to-day operations, including classroom teachers, librarians, nurses, textbooks and instructional materials, athletics, arts and music programs and security.” District Finance Director Ramona Moan reports the replacement levy, if passed, would create no additional tax burden on district property owners. The present rate is $4.17 per $1,000 of assessed property value and it’s estimated that figure would stay the same for four years. In all districts, the numbers can fluctuate slightly as the assessed value of the entire district goes up


or down. The four-year M&O levy looks to collect $37.1 million, starting with $8.7 million the first year and $9.8 in the final year.

Enumclaw’s tech levy The February proposal is a sixyear version of a tech levy first passed in February 2009. The ballot presented to voters says the proposition “would authorize the district to acquire and install instructional technology equipment and infrastructure, provide related staff training and make other technology improvements and upgrades.” This current request cannot be called a “continuation” levy because the earlier levy called for tax collections in 2010 through 2013. If the technology levy passes in February, collections will be in 2015 through 2020. There will be no “tech levy” taxes collected in 2014. The proposed rate is significantly

See LEVY, Page 2

Robotics team sets sights on state games

The forecast for today, Wednesday, calls for rain with a high near 48 and low of 41. Rain is likely on Thursday and Friday, with daily highs near 45 and lows near 40. Saturday and Sunday’s forecast calls for more rain, with temperatures remaining stable through the weekend.

By Dennis Box Editor

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Mount Peak New Year’s

A hearty group of hikers scaled Mount Peak New Year’s Day, enjoying some exercise, fellowship and a potluck lunch at the top. Most of the folks in this photo are regular Mount Peak climbers and have gotten to know each other during their morning hike and have made the New Year’s climb an annual event. Photo submitted by Gary Jack

Robots are rolling, picking up cubes and doing chin-ups in the Enumclaw High Robotics Club. The robotics team will be competing with its robots in a series of tournaments beginning today at Auburn Mountainview in the Tahoma League competition. The next tournament will be Sunday at Tahoma High.

See ROBOTICS, Page 2

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Enumclaw Courier-Herald, January 08, 2014  

January 08, 2014 edition of the Enumclaw Courier-Herald

Enumclaw Courier-Herald, January 08, 2014  

January 08, 2014 edition of the Enumclaw Courier-Herald