BATTLE GROUND — After some pretty close initial results that were released Tuesday night for the Feb. 14 Special Election, it appears that the $136.54 replacement maintenance and operations levy that the Battle Ground School District asked voters to approve has passed.
As of 2:17 p.m. on Thu., Feb. 16, a total of 8,882 yes votes (53.69 percent) had been counted, and 7,662 no votes (46.31 percent). In the state of Washington, school levies require a simple majority to pass (50 percent plus one vote).
Mark Hottowe, current superintendent for Battle Ground Public Schools, said he wants to thank the Citizens for Better Schools committee, chairperson Sue Cranke, and the staff and community who helped get the word out about the levy.
“I am pleased the community recognizes the work we are doing with their students and the need to have continue resources to achieve our goals of high quality instruction,” Hottowe said.
Mark Ross, who will be taking the reins as superintendent of Battle Ground Public Schools after Hottowe’s retirement in July, echoed Hottowe’s remarks.
“We appreciate the stability that the passing of the levy affords us to be able to continue the quality work we are doing in Battle Ground, and thank you to everyone for the team effort to help us move forward,” Ross said.
The four-year, $136.54 million levy will replace the district’s current levy, which expires on Dec. 31, 2017. The levy will collect $31.68 million for the district in 2018; $33.26 million in 2019; $34.93 million in 2020; and $36.67 million in 2021. The $31.68 million amount to be collected in 2018 is a 16.2 percent increase from the $27.25 million that will be collected in 2017.
In an informational pamphlet about the replacement levy that was sent out prior to the Feb. 14 Special Election to residents in the district, the levy funds are broken down to show where they are spent in the district each year. According to this information, $29.8 million is spent on staff, educational programs and transportation; $1.8 million is spent on technology, security and communications; $3.5 million is spent on teaching and learning and student activities; and $1.5 million is reserved for maintenance, grounds and asset preservation.
The last time the Battle Ground School District put a levy on an election ballot was in 2013. It was first on the February 2013 ballot and failed, it then passed when it was placed on the April 2013 ballot. The last time the district went a year without any levy funds was in 2008.