Voters approve school levies for Longview, Toutle and Toledo

2011-02-08T21:45:00Z 2011-02-10T22:21:32Z Voters approve school levies for Longview, Toutle and ToledoBy Greg Garrison / The Daily News Longview Daily News
February 08, 2011 9:45 pm  • 

Longview school officials breathed a sigh of relief Tuesday night after voters approved a pair of three-year levies that will provide the district with about $16.5 million annually.

Toutle voters also approved a pair of levies, and voters in Toledo passed a two-year maintenance and operations levy.

All five levies replace existing levies that expire at the end of 2011.

The first counting of ballots showed Longview's maintenance and operations levy passing with about 59.5 percent of the vote, easily surpassing the simple majority needed. Another levy to fund technology and capital projects was passing with 59 percent of the vote.

"Given the economy, this was a wonderful return and another wonderful example of how this community supports its kids," said Longview School District Superintendent Suzanne Cusick, who hosted a gathering of about 15 levy supporters at her home Tuesday night. "With the track record this community has, quite frankly, I wasn't surprised at the almost 60 percent."

In Toutle, a three-year, $1 million maintenance and operations levy received nearly 61 percent approval, while a three-year technology levy passed with 64 percent of the vote.

The Toledo School District maintenance and operations levy passed with 59.66 percent of the vote.

The $995,000, two-year levy will cost property owners $2.18 per $1,000 of assessed property value, or $327 for the owner of a $150,000 home.

As of Tuesday night, the Cowlitz County elections office reported a voter turnout of about 39 percent.

Longview's maintenance and operations levy, which funds about 20 percent of day-to-day operations, will generate about $15 million annually. It will cost the owner of a home with an assessed value of $150,000 an estimated $509 a year, an increase of $52 over the current levy.

The technology and capital projects levy will generate about $1.5 million per year and will cost the owners of a $150,000 home $49.50 annually, an increase of $4.50. That money will go towards upgrading computer labs and maintaining buildings.

The Toutle maintenance and operations levy will cost the owners of a $150,000 home $428 annually. The technology levy would cost the owner of a $150,000 home $25.50 per year.

Longview chose to propose a three-year levy in this election, rather than the two-year levies the district has introduced previous ballots. Officials hoped the extra year would help prevent voter fatigue that might come from being asked to vote on a levy every other year.

Passage also eases district officials' worries about staff reductions and program cuts, Cusick said.

"This really gives us some breathing room to focus on instruction," she said.

Copyright 2015 Longview Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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