SVSD voters support tax increase in early returns

Snoqualmie Valley School District residents were rejecting two school funding issues in preliminary vote returns Tuesday evening, a $62.2 million educational programs and operations levy, and an $18.8 million technology levy.

On the first night of ballot counting, the no votes on both of Snoqualmie Valley’s levies had fractional leads over the yes votes. On the second night of vote counting, the yes votes took the majority for both the levies.

For Proposition 1, the operations levy, 4,227 votes against the measure had been counted, 49.17 percent, and 4,369 votes for it, 50.83 percent. For Proposition 2, the technology levy, the vote difference was 3,934 votes against the measure, 48.25 percent, to 4,219 for it, 51.75 percent.

Both levies are four-year measures, taking effect in 2019 if approved by voters, and both are renewals of existing voter-approved levies. The operations levy would generate an average of $15.5 million in annual revenue for the district, at a rate of about $1.50 per $1,000 of a property’s assessed value. The technology levy would generate an average of $4.7 million annually, at an estimated rate of about 44 cents per $1,000 of assessed value.

While school levies historically faced little opposition from voters, this year detractors were vocal, pointing out taxes would already be increased because of the state legislature’s education funding package approved in July. The legislature voted in a significant tax hike to meet its obligation to fully fund basic education; the increase in the Snoqualmie Valley School District is estimated to average $570.

However, voters in the Riverview School District have shown strong initial support for the three levies on their ballot. These include: Proposition 1, a $31.89 million operations levy; Proposition 2, an $11.38 million technology and capital projects levy; and Proposition 3, a $1.28 million transportation vehicle levy.

As of the second tally on Wednesday, voters were supporting each with a strong majority. Proposition 1 was passing 2,497 to 2,284, or 52.23 percent to 47.77 percent. The technology measure, Proposition 2 had 2,563 votes in favor to 2,234 against, 53.43 to 46.57 percent. The two-year bus levy, though saw the strongest support, with 2,658 in favor, 2,147 against, or 55.32 to 44.68 percent.

Voter turnout for this special election was about 29 percent. Results will be updated daily until election results are certified on Friday, Feb. 23.

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