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Voters say yes to Levies
CARNATION Voters in the Lower Valley proved that they
support education through the passage of two of the district's three ballot measures.
The Riverview School District asked voters to approve three
two-year levies which would fund Cedarcrest High's Performing Arts Center,
technology and the district's Maintenance and Operations (M & O) budget.
At press time, the arts center was failing by a fraction of a percent
and the technology and M & O levies secured the 60 percent approval
needed to pass. The final results will be released on Friday, March 10.
In the past, the community has been reluctant to support the
district's ventures including the high school bond, athletics field bond, and
previously, a much larger version of the technology levy.
But this latest victory might be an indication that the district and its
constituents finally agree on the direction education should head into the
"There's a good feeling in the district," said Paul Censullo, the
district's technology specialist. "It has been
a peaceful and harmonious year so far and the overall health of the district
Last May, voters rejected a six-year, $3.9 million technology
levy which forced administrators to reevaluate the immediate
technological needs of the district. What came out of those discussions was a
two-year, $1 million levy which would provide upgraded computer labs, about
300 computers for the classrooms, staff training, multi-media equipment,
and a new phone system.
"We scaled it back to a point where we could do things that were
absolutely necessary and that people could afford," said Laura Ritter,
Riverview's board president. "We also tried
to make it very clear that this will probably not be the last technology levy."
"This only pays for part, but it pays for some of the most expensive
part the infrastructure," she added.
Now the Technology Steering Committee, which includes
parents, administrators and staff, will decide when and how the levy money will
be spent. Censullo estimates that the new computer labs will be installed
around the middle of next year and staff training could begin as early as this
The most important and consistently supported measure on the
February ballot was the M & O. That levy provides about 20 percent of
the district's operating budget and pays for extra-curricular programs,
transportation and more. About 64 percent of the voters approved the levy.
But Cedarcrest's Performing Arts Center didn't do as well at the
polls earlier this week. As of Tuesday morning, the levy received 59.64
percent "yes" votes which included 100
percent of poll results and 80 percent of mail-in ballots.
"I'm optimistic," Ritter said. "There's still absentee ballots out
there and you never can tell. I want to stay optimistic."
And the district is still waiting to hear about a $22,500 King
County grant the Duvall Arts Commission applied for which would upgrade
the center's sound system.
"We're still hopeful we'll get the grant so all hope is not gone in
doing work in the Performing Arts Center," Ritter said.
Since the center's opening in 1993, most of the improvements
were bought with $36,000 worth of candy bar sales raised by drama
teacher Karen King and her students. The two-year, $210,000 levy would have
supplied stage rigging and drapery, lighting instruments and more.
If the measure doesn't receive the votes needed, however, Ritter said
the arts center levy will probably be brought up again when the board
discusses future projects including Cedarcrest's athletic fields.
Despite the possible loss of one of its levies, officials said they are
thankful to receive support from the residents in the Lower Valley.
"We're pleased that the community valued what we thought was
important, so it was nice that we got validation that it's important to them
too," Censullo said. "If we feel like
they're listening, then we're on the right track and that was the best part."
"Thanks to everyone who cares about kids and the schools,"
Ritter added. "And thank you for trusting the board and district that we will do
our best with what the people have given us."