One of two Hockinson school levies headed for approval this time around

The replacement levy and a new technology levy failed in February

HOCKINSON — “Thankful.”

That’s how outgoing Hockinson School Superintendent Sandra Yager describes the mood in the district after voters appeared to be passing a replacement of their expiring school programs and operations levy.

A sign for a ballot drop box in Clark County. Photo by Chris Brown
A sign for a ballot drop box in Clark County. Photo by Chris Brown

As of Wednesday afternoon, the replacement levy was receiving 52.01 percent approval, with a 136 vote lead. Last February, Hockinson was the only district, out of 40 statewide, to see a replacement programs and operation levy fail. That time, just over 52-and-a-half percent of voters said no.

Should the programs and operations levy have failed again, Yager said they expected the district could have been facing budget cuts from $1.5 million to $1.8 million for the upcoming school year.

“We are thankful to our voters for their support of Hockinson’s schools,” Yager told ClarkCountyToday.com. “This levy will enable the district to continue its full educational program.”

The replacement levy is for $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed value, which is the maximum allowed under the state cap as part of the levy swap in the McCleary education funding legislation. The previous levy was for $3.43 per $1,000. The district expects the replacement levy will bring in around $2.4 million this year.

While it was closer this time around, the district will have to do without a new three-year technology levy. If it had passed, the levy would have added $0.45 per $1,000 this year, decreasing to $0.36 per $1,000 in 2022.

“With the capital levy failing with just under 49 percent of the vote, Hockinson will do its best to keep its instructional technology working,” said Yager.

The district of 1,914 students will have a new superintendent starting in July. Steve Marshall, director of Educational Resources in Camas School District was selected to take over for Yager, who is leaving to take over as superintendent at Cornerstone Christian Academy in Vancouver.

Ridgefield, Mount Pleasant levies passing

After a third major building bond was narrowly defeated in February, Ridgefield voters easily approved a replacement programs and operations levy. As of Wednesday, the replacement levy was passing with 57.44 percent support.

The new three-year levy would start in 2020 at the $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed value. The district is hoping that will bring in around $6.1 million next year, though they won’t know for sure until after assessments are done in early 2020. Currently, Ridgefield School District is facing an expected $750,000 budget shortfall for next school year, which is far less than neighboring districts.

In the Mount Pleasant District, which is only partially in Clark County, voters were asked to approve a levy amount of $3.53 per $1,000 of assessed value next year, $3.48 the year after, and $3.43 in 2022. That’s more than the current law allows, but district officials are hoping the legislature will lift the cap at some point, which would allow them to immediately collect the additional money.

If the cap remains in place, the district will still be able to collect around $84,400 next year. That amount would increase to an estimated $155,000 if the cap were lifted.

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