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Initial results show three school levies passing

Initial results from the Feb. 7 special election indicate that all three levies proposed by the school district will pass. Final results will be available Feb. 17.

The Snoqualmie Valley School District proposed the replacement maintenance and operations levy, the technology levy and the school bus levy. In order to pass, there must be a minimum of 2,406 "yes" votes and a 60 percent supermajority of favorable votes for each.

The proposition one replacement M&O levy, which is a four-year replacement levy for the one passed in 2002 that provides 19 percent of the district's operating budget, has about 3,300 votes in favor, bringing the approval rate to 62 percent.

The current M&O levy expires on Dec. 31 of this year.

The replacement levy will help provide funding, in addition to state and federal funding, for day-to-day operations for teachers, support staff, maintenance and custodial services, transportation, after-school athletic and academic programs and staff training.

The total cost of the levy will be $34.9 million over a four-year period, beginning with $7.6 million in 2007, $8.3 million in 2008, $9.1 million in 2009 and $9.9 million in 2010. Estimated tax rates (per $1,000 assessed value) are $1.54 per year.

The current tax rate through the levy approved in 2002 is $1.47.

M&O levies require approval every four years.

The four-year technology levy was presented to voters for the first time in this election. Proposition two has received about 3,300 votes and passed so far with a 62 percent approval rate.

The technology levy will fund technology upgrades and improvements in the schools.

It will replace and update existing computers, as well as fund the installation of new computers, labs and computer resources such as encyclopedias. About 75 percent of the technology funds will be used to refresh or replace existing outdated technology and about 25 percent of the funds will be used to enhance technology for all schools.

The levy will cost $4 million over four years, with a $1-million distribution each year beginning in 2007. Estimated tax rate (per $1,000 assessed value) is $0.20 for 2007, $0.19 for 2008, $0.17 for 2009 and $0.16 for 2010. There is no tax rate for 2006.

The one-year school bus levy appears to have passed, as it currently has about 3,100 and a 60-percent approval percentage.

The levy was developed to purchase about 26 school buses over the next three years, replacing 15 buses and adding 11 additional buses to the 44-unit fleet to accommodate student enrollment increases and to update safety requirements.

The levy will have a total cost of about $2.6 million to be collected in 2007 with an estimated tax rate (per $1,000 assessed value) of $0.54 in 2007. There is no tax rate currently. State law limits school districts to one-year levies for transportation.

In regards to the preliminary election results, superintendent Joel Aune said, "We're really not going to get into the game of speculating [the outcome].

"In most cases with elections ... you can fairly accurately predict the outcome," Aune said. "With our three propositions, that is not the case.

"We put a good deal of time and thought into those levies," Aune added. "Taking it all into account, we brought those to the board and said 'Here's what we need in order to keep the district moving forward and service the kids and remain competitive with neighboring schools.' Regardless of the outcome, those needs won't change."

Aune said that should any of the levy propositions fail, the board of directors for the school district would analyze the information and try to determine why it failed, then propose next-step recommendations.

The Feb. 7 election brought out about 29 percent of registered voters.

To view election results, visit www.metrokc.gov/elections.

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