School district seeks voter approval for levies, bond issue

school levies The Northshore School District will ask voters on Feb. 6 to approve two school levies and a bond issue at the same tax rate passed by voters in 1994. "The three propositions on the February ballot will renew our expiring issues and help us maintain quality education in the Northshore School District," said Superintendent Karen Forys.
   "Northshore taxpayers will continue to pay the same $5.98 per $1,000 of assessed valuation in 1997 and 1998 that they are paying in 1996 for local school taxes," she emphasized. "That rate could drop if property values in the district increase substantially."
   The three issues on the ballot are a two-year Maintenance and Operations Levy for $40.9 millioon to supplement basic education funding from the state, a two-year Technology Levy for $4.8 million, and a $49.7 million Capital Projects Bond Issue.
   Northshore School Board president Kirby Larson said the ballot requests were determined in October after the Board conducted community forums and received recommendations from several advisory committees.
   The three ballot propositions include:
   Proposition One, a Maintenance and Operations Levy calling for $21.5 million in 1997 at an estimated rate of $2.99 per $1,000 of assessed valuation and $19.4 million in 1998 at an estimated rate of $2.65 per $1,000.
   The M&O Levy has been part of the school district financing in Washington state for more than 25 years, bridging the difference between the state allocation for basic education and what Northshore needs to maintain its educational programs. The levy is responsible for 19% of Northshore's general budget and covers costs related to instructional support, student services and class sizes.
   Proposition Two, a Capital Project bond issue, asking approval for issuance of $49.7 million in general obligation bonds. The estimated cost to taxpayers for this issue and the remaining debt outstanding on prior bonds is $2.66 per $1,000 of assessed value in 1997 and $3.00 per $1,000 in 1998.
   The bond proceeds would modernize four schools, plan three future renovations, add about 20 high school classrooms to handle projected growth, replace roofs and a heating system, upgrade for technology, improve fields and comply with new codes.
   Proposition Three, the Technology Levy, seeks $2.4 million in both 1997 and 1998. The funds would continue the school district's Technology Plan, launched in 1990. The cost to taxpayers is estimated a 33 cents per $1,000 assessed valuation each of the two years.
   The new levy, replacing a similar 1994 technology levy, would provide support for site-based technology plans. This would include training, instructional software and equipment such as computer work stations, user-access stations in school libraries, telecommunications support and networking between schools.
   Northshore will need a voter turnout on Feb. 6 of 10,536 voters in order to validate the election results. At least 60% of those voters, 6,321, must vote "yes" for the measures to pass.
   Northshore residents Ken Goodwin and Bonnie Larsen are co-chairing Citizens for Northshore Schools, a community group campaigning for passage of the levies and the bond issue. They can be reached at 481-4994.