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Riverview board presents multiple levies for consideration
CARNATION _ The Riverview School District will ask voters to
support three two-year levies next year. The Board of Directors
unanimously approved a $7.4 million Maintenance and Operation (M & O)
replacement levy, a $1 million technology levy and a $210,000 Performing Arts
Center (PAC) levy for placement on the Feb. 29 ballot.
The board has been discussing its election options since early
October and the decision to place the M & O on the ballot _ which provides 20
percent of the total General Fund budget _ was made without hesitation.
The levy supports educational programs not funded by the state such as
additional teachers, extra-curricular programs and transportation. The
other issues, including the possibility of an athletic fields bond, however,
required more consideration.
"The amount and timing [of a fields measure] is crucial,"
said Cedarcrest Principal Clarence Lavarias. "We want to show the
community we're not begging, but scaling back to a bare bones minimum."
"We don't want to compete with the M & O or the tech levy and
performing arts. We need more time," he added.
In the meantime, supporters will be seeking out grant money to pay
for smaller projects related to the anticipated fields such as a press box
and concession stand. While the fields issue won't be decided in February,
officials said it is almost guaranteed that a bond will be presented sometime
"My biggest concern in delaying the fields is that we must make
sure the community knows it's a delay and we are coming back and asking for
it," said board President Laura Ritter.
Preliminary amounts for the field bond range from $2.1 million to
$3.7 million, depending on which variation of the plan the board chooses. The
proposal includes field upgrades, new equipment, a multi-purpose
field, parking lot, bleachers and more.
Previous attempts at passing an athletic fields bond have been
unsuccessful, so Athletic Director Josh Garcia wants to make sure the
proposal is well planned.
"It didn't pass four times and it'd be pretty traumatic if it doesn't
pass again," he said.
The opportunity to bring technology into the schools won't have to
wait because a scaled-down version of the original $3.9 million, six-year
technology levy will get a second chance on the ballot. This time, voters will
be asked to support a two-year, $1 million levy which will provide a
new phone system, a computer in each classroom, staff training and
updated computer labs.
"I think it's a great plan and one that's not fluff or a Cadillac," said
Paul Censullo, the district's technology director. "And it is certainly a good
step in the direction we need to go."
He estimates that this levy will provide a good foundation for
the district's technology needs. But the funding would probably need to
be supplemented in the next three to five years to add more computers to
the schools. However, that shouldn't be a very expensive proposition,
"We want to prove to the voters that we are doing good things
within the next several years," he commented. "We'll probably [ask for]
Another area of the district that has been inadequately funded
is Cedarcrest's Performing Arts Center, said drama teacher Karen King.
A $210,000 PAC levy will make its grand debut on the ballot next
year which will fund essential items for the theater.
The levy will provide stage rigging and draperies, a projection
screen, lighting devices and storage. The Duvall Arts Commission is also
applying for grants to enhance the facility since they often host
performances at the center.
Though the PAC levy asks for a relatively small amount, some
board members were wary of placing it on the February ballot.
"I want to see the Performing Arts Center completed, but February is
not the best time," Ritter said. "I'm
afraid of putting too many things in February, but I won't work against
"We had tons and tons of discussion on technology and fields,"
board member Carol Van Noy added. "We had discussions [about the PAC]
in years past, but we didn't have the detail of discussion like the others."
Even a representative from the Duvall Arts Commission was
apprehensive of running the levy so soon.
"We almost don't want to go in February," said Carolyn Butler.
"We need time to get a campaign going." But the group will only have
several weeks to solicit their request because the board unanimously voted to
run the levy in two months.
"It's an important part of the education program," said board
member Steve Hallstrom. "Arts have proven to enhance student learning."
If all three measures are approved, a homeowner with a house
assessed at $200,000 could expect to pay approximately $2.95 ($2.52 for the
M & O, 36 cents for technology and 7 cents for the arts center) per
$1,000 of assessed value, or $590 in 2001.
For more information about the February election and the levy
requests, call the Riverview School District at (425) 333-4115.