Longview schools
Longview Public Schools

Brushing aside the defeat of its November facilities bond, the Longview School District passed both its replacement levies Tuesday, each passing with 59 percent of the vote.

“The community is supportive of our public schools,” Superintendent Dan Zorn said of the twin victories. Residents also understand that “the funds being asked for in these levies were necessary to continue to operate as we’ve been operating,” he added.

The replacement operations and educational programs (O&EP) levy will raise approximately $8.1 million in 2019 and $9.1 million in 2020.

The O&EP levy helps pay for special education and regular education teachers, counselors, custodians, teachers’ aides and coaches. It also helps fund staff training, classroom supplies and all extracurricular activities, including athletic programs. Officials say it bridges the gap between what the state funds and what it actually costs to run the school system.

The levy will cost taxpayers $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property valuation, or $300 on a $200,000 home.

The four-year capital projects and technology (CP&T) levy, which supports facilities maintenance as well as student and staff technology needs, will raise about $3 million annually from 2019-2022, about double the district’s current collection of $1.5 million.

The CP&T levy will cost taxpayers about 60 cents per $1,000 or $120 annually on a $200,000 home. That’s about twice the current CP&T rate. The new levy will pay for replacements, upgrades and repairs on roofs, boilers, concrete, grounds, athletic fields, electricity and lighting.

Zorn said that the district will be careful about what maintenance it undertakes at Mint Valley, Northlake and Olympic elementaries, which the district has proposed replacing.

“I’m pleased and just grateful for our community and appreciate their support of our schools,” Zorn said, pledging that the district will continue striving to “improve achievement levels for our kids.”

Levy requests only need a simple majority to pass. Bonds, like the $121.6 million proposal that failed narrowly last November, need 60 percent supermajorities. With the levy passage under their belt, district officials will now start to consider what type of facilities bond to resubmit to voters.There is not timetable to submit a proposal to voters.

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