Spokane business leaders are making a last minute push to convince voters to cast ballots for school levies on the February 9 ballot.
Thirteen Spokane County school districts have submitted measures for maintenance and operations levies. Four also have levies that would pay for capital projects.
Many of the districts are selling the measures as replacements or renewals of existing levies. Some districts are staying with their current tax rates, others are proposing increases.
Kim Pearman-Gillman, the senior vice president of corporate and community relations for Numerica Credit Union, says the measures provide money for programs not covered by state basic education funding.
“We’re going to be supporting technology. Think about that. With all the changes that are happening, the technology makes sure our kids can keep learning. We have to worry about their safety. That’s something that doesn’t go away. These dollars pay for that. They’re just the extracurricular things. I think about it from this perspective. It’s so important to have these other things that students have as a well-rounded educational experience and that includes the extracurricular things that they do," she said.
The levies go on the ballot at a time when a southeastern Washington state senator proposes to limit how districts can sell their levies to voters. Republican Senator Perry Dozier testified last week at a legislative hearing.
“For instance, the term ‘replacement levy’ could only be used when the total amount collected by the district remains the same. It couldn’t be used when a property tax rate remains the same but the total collections increase. That typically would be the case when property values rise," Dozier said.
Ballots must be returned to the county elections office or to one of the ballot drop boxes by 8 pm Tuesday night or be postmarked by Tuesday.