Voters approve Woodland Public Schools’ Educational Programs & Operations levy

Three-year replacement levy will be at same tax rate as previous levy

It took a second try, and a greater sense of urgency, but voters in the Woodland School District have approved a replacement Educational Programs & Operations levy in Tuesday’s (April 28) special election.

Voters in the Woodland School District approved a three-year replacement Educational Programs & Operations levy in Tuesday’s special election. Photo courtesy of Woodland Public Schools
Voters in the Woodland School District approved a three-year replacement Educational Programs & Operations levy in Tuesday’s special election. Photo by Mike Schultz

Voters in both Clark and Cowlitz counties each provided the majority needed to pass the levy, which failed in the Feb. 11 special election when 55.22 percent of voters rejected the request. On Tuesday, 51.5 percent (240) of Clark County voters were in favor of the levy, compared to 226 (48.5 percent) who were opposed. In Cowlitz County, 54.73 percent (1,927) voted ‘yes’ and 45.27 percent (1,594) voted ‘no.’

In an open letter to members of the Woodland community, Woodland Public Schools Superintendent Michael Green expressed his appreciation to voters.

“I am incredibly humbled by and feel immense pride for the ongoing support and dedication the Woodland community continues to show for its neighborhood schools,’’ Green said. “Despite a time of global crises resulting from the COVID-19 novel coronavirus – both health and economic – Woodland has once again demonstrated that ensuring our children receive the best possible preparation for life after high school remains one of our community’s top priorities by voting to pass the school replacement levy.

“While the funds provided by this levy remain instrumental in providing our community’s children with access to the high-quality education they need to achieve their dreams, let me assure you that your school board of directors and entire district staff are well aware of the sacrifices our community’s taxpayers continue to make in order to provide this opportunity,’’ Green said. “Your sacrifice is not one we take lightly.’’

In 2021, the replacement levy will collect $2.37 per $1,000 of assessed property value from Woodland residents, the same rate collected by the previous levy in 2020. In the final two years of the replacement levy (2022 and 2023), the rate will dip to $2.36 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

“Your school district’s board of directors has promised that no matter what happens to the economy in the following three years, the actual levy rate for the replacement levy will not exceed the estimated rates,’’ Green wrote in his letter to the community.

During a board workshop on April 8, the Woodland Public Schools’ Board of Directors identified $3,000,000 in cuts to educational programs and services they said would have to be made if the community didn’t approve the levy. In addition to budget reductions to nearly every program district-wide, they said the failure to replace the previous levy would have resulted in nearly 50 school employees losing their jobs.

“As we all venture forward in the ongoing war against COVID-19, I want to assure you that your neighborhood schools and staff will continue to provide the services our community needs while innovating to ensure our children receive the education they deserve, whether that be in-person or via remote learning,’’ Green said. “Once again, I thank you all for your support of your neighborhood schools. Woodland’s ongoing tradition of supporting strong schools remains strong in the face of the most historic and challenging of obstacles.’’

Information in this report was provided by Woodland Public Schools.