Kelso School District

The Kelso School District will host a public meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Kelso High School gym to gather feedback about its $98.6 million school bond proposal.

It’s the first of two public meetings the district has scheduled to gauge the community’s reaction to its facilities improvement plan. The Kelso School Board needs to decide by late November or early December whether to place the bond measure before voters on the February 2018 election ballot.

The plan would replace Wallace Elementary School and Beacon Hill Elementary School.

Additionally, the district is proposing to build a new elementary school at its 10-acre Lexington site to accommodate about 350 students who live nearby. The bond would also upgrade the district’s middle school and high school athletic facilities; improve parking and traffic flows; and make districtwide safety and security improvements.

According to district estimates, the 20-year bond would cost the owner of a $200,000 home an extra $68 annually in property taxes, or $5.67 a month. That represents an increase from an earlier $87.5 million proposal.

Under the first plan, homeowners would have seen their property taxes decrease by 48 cents annually compared to what they pay now, starting in 2019. That’s because state taxes are set to increase that year as part of the levy swap, while the $1.50 cap on school maintenance and operation levies goes into effect in 2019.

The district is also encouraging residents to sign up for its online Thought Exchange at rebrand.ly/KelsoSDSignup. The program, which runs through Oct. 18, allows community members to share comments and rate other people’s feedback.

The district will host another public meeting at the same time and place on Oct. 17.

The Daily News, Longview, Wash.

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