An in-depth look at the two levy requests put before voters by the Washougal School District
Editor’s note: Former Clark County Councilor and long-time Clark County resident Dick Rylander conducts a great deal of research on public education in the area, region and state and shares his findings on his blog, swweducation.org. Rylander recently compiled in-depth analysis on the levy requests on the Feb. 14 special election ballot from the Vancouver, Washougal and Woodland school districts. Here is the information he has gathered on the two levy requests made by the Washougal School District.
Washougal School District has two (2) items on the February 14 special election ballot. The first is a new Enhanced Operations Levy and the other is a new Capital Levy for Technology, Health and Safety.
In this article, we’ll share links to the Clark County Elections Department, the Washougal School District and provide some analysis to try and clear up any gray areas. If you don’t want to click the links and do a deep dive we’ll share the essentials below. Let’s get started.
Clark County Elections Dept link: EP&O Levy statement (Proposition 10): https://clark.wa.gov/sites/default/files/media/document/2022-12/Washougal%20School%20District%20No.%20112-6%20-%20Resolution%20No.%202022-23-03%20%28Proposition%20No.%2010%29_0.pdf
Clark County Elections Dept link: Technology, health and safety Capital Levy (Proposition 11) – https://clark.wa.gov/sites/default/files/media/document/2022-12/Washougal%20School%20District%20No.%20112-6%20-%20Resolution%20No.%202022-23-04%20%28Proposition%20No.%2011%29_0.pdf
Washougal School District website: http://www.washougal.k12.wa.us/district-budget-information/levy/
Clark County Elections Voters pamphlet (online version): https://clark.wa.gov/sites/default/files/media/document/2022-12/Washougal%20School%20District%20No.%20112-6%20-%20Prop%20No.%2010%20-%20Replacement%20Educational%20Programs%20and%20Operations%20%26%20Prop%20No.%2011%20-%20Replacement%20Capital%20Levy%20for%20Educational%20Tech%2C%20Health%20and%20Safety%20Imp%20%20.pdf
So let’s get to the essentials in case you don’t want to work through all the links.
There are two propositions: 10 and 11. Following is the essential info on each:
Proposition 10: Enhanced Operations Levy
- We all understand the need for money to stay even with inflation. We all understand the need to support students with good tools.
- We all want the very best for our children. We love great teachers.
- They want you to focus on the “rate” per $1000 of assessed value which is a red herring. You need to focus on the amount of money they are asking for. If your property value goes up the “rate” goes down but the amount of money collected stays the same. If your property value drops the “rate” goes up but the amount collected stays the same. They want to use a magician’s trick and direct your attention in one area while the sleight of hand is done.
- Test scores are poor: 46.7% are failing ELA (English Language Arts); 62.7% are failing math and 52.9% are failing science. For all the money you give them the scores continue to fall…why throw more good money after bad?
- Student population has fallen 6.1% in the past 3 years.
- The amount spent per student has doubled in the last 10 years. The average across the State is approaching $20,000 per student.
- Over 52% of your current property taxes go to schools…how much more is needed and what will the outcomes you can measure be?
- This “capital levy” is a 246% increase
- You are being asked to approve two (2) levy’s totalling over $40 million. Rather than ask 1x they split to make it appear the amounts are smaller.
- See the comments above
- The real questions?
- Can you afford to pay more?
- Are you getting the results you expect and should from all the money spent?
Here are links to other articles about the WSD:
Other data and information sources:
- Vancouver Police make arrest in double homicide investigationThe Vancouver Police Department arrested Kirkland C. Warren Friday and charged him with two counts of Murder I in the investigation of the deaths of 27-year-old Meshay Melendez and her 7-year-old daughter Layla Stewart.
- Area residents turn out for Town Hall meetingDistrict 2 Councilor Michelle Belkot and Clark County Sheriff John Horch address issues facing Clark County residents.
- Opinion: Despite record revenues and being the only state in the nation not giving broad tax relief, Washington House Democrats are considering increasing taxesMark Harmsworth of the Washington Policy Center believes House Bill 1628 will not solve housing affordability in either the ownership, rental or commercial real estate markets.
- Public invited to Shangri-La Farm for a country-style Easter egg hunt Sat., April 8Local artist and Clark County Master Gardener Liz Pike is organizing the second annual community Easter egg hunt at her organic Shangri-La Farm in Fern Prairie on Sat., April 8.
- Opinion: The state legislature may soon significantly reduce classroom instruction time for studentsLiv Finne of the Washington Policy Center states the legislation may be great for the teacher’s union, but it will deprive many of Washington’s school children of the quality public education they’ve been promised.
- County to host corrections officer career open house on April 19Clark County Jail Services and Human Resources staff will hold an information open house for individuals interested in a career as a corrections officer.
- Free online workshops promote composting and sustainable living strategiesClark County’s Composter Recycler program is offering a series of free online workshops about composting and sustainable living strategies.
No, No and no. A few years ago the Camas Library brought a levy (I think it was called a levy). Anyway, they wanted to build a new library. A Taj mahal, a palace. The voters said forget i!!. Come back with a reasonable request and you’ll get your improved library. So, the Camas politicians did that and got the money to renovate and expand the nice library we have now. A couple years ago the politicians decided we need a new swimming pool. They came to the voters with an outrageous plan to build a water kingdom! The voters said heck no and this time they tossed the mayor out of office!! A cautionary tale. The Vancouver School District needs to roll up their sleeves and get those test scores up! Send them a message… you get more money when our kids get a quality education.
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