Northwest NEWS

February 21, 2000

Front Page

Three propositions on February 29 ballot

by Lisa Allen, Valley View editor

   CARNATION--On February 29, voters will decide whether Riverview School District will get computers for its classrooms. Also on the ballot are a Maintenance and Operations levy and a request for funds to finish the Cedarcrest Performing Arts Center.

   Because of the expiration of the bus levy, the cost to a property owner in the district for all three levies would even out to only $8 for a $200,000 home per year, according to Kate Miller, chairman of the Riverview Schools Committee. "And that is a conservative estimate," said Miller. "The estimate doesn't calculate the impact of the new Safeway."

   Proposition 1 is a two-year replacement Maintenance and Operation levy which is 20 percent of the Riverview School District's annual General Fund Budget. The levy would collect $3,600,000 ($2.52/$1,000) for years 2001 and 2002. The money pays for what the state doesn't provide, including classroom aides, textbooks and library books, music teachers, transportation and athletic programs, and building maintenance.

   Miller said the M & O levy is crucial to the district. "Without it, the district would be forced to reduce safe transportation," she said. "We would lose our classroom aides and music, PE and art would be slashed, since those are not state-mandated programs."

   She said the district is concerned because previous levies have passed with a large safety margin, but the last one was very close. The district prioritizes the money from a levy and if it fails, then costs that aren't fixed would take a hit, she said. "New books aren't funded ... neither are special services, such as counseling," she added.

   Proposition 2 is a two-year technology levy, scaled back from a previous request that failed. The district is asking for $530,000 ($.36/$1,000) for years 2001 and 2002, which would pay for a computer lab in every school, adding one computer per classroom, hard wiring phone systems for a support network, and staff training and support.

   Miller said Tolt Middle School only has two Pentium-class computers for a school of 700 students. "That is pathetic," she said. "Tolt has a mish-mash of stuff--some 486-based computers, and even some 386s and 286s."

   She credited PTA members from the individual schools for working to obtain more computers. "The Stillwater and other PTAs work hard at it and the Carnation PTA's Chuck Johnson has been able to provide 15 computers for Carnation Elementary by getting donations from businesses," Miller said.

   "Computers change ... it's an endless cycle," she said. "The district would like to get at least one level--it's an economy of scale so that all computers would have the same Windows and screens. It would save the district money in the long run."

   Proposition 3 is a two-year Performing Arts Center Completion levy for $105,000 ($0.07/$1,000) for 2001 and the same for 2002. The center was not finished when Cedarcrest High School was completed. The funds would pay for stage rigging and drapery, lighting devices, instruments, projection screen, and equipment storage.

   The Duvall Foundation for the Arts is hoping the theater will be finished, since it is used by so many groups.

   "The election is being bracketed by two shows at the Cedarcrest Performing Arts Center," said Carolyn Butler, spokesperson for the Duvall Arts Commission. "There is an opportunity for people to view the theater. It's a relatively small request. The Center is so close to being finished and is so deserving."

   She said the state has indicated that in small towns, the high school theater should be the community's performing arts facility.