Spokane County voters support school levies, new high school in Central Valley

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"Local funding for our schools is critical", said Superintendent Susan Enfield.

With Olympia's majority changing in November of 2017, there was hope from districts that they would revisit the bill before their new levies went into effect.

"Kids are the heart of the community, that is the priority", said Cashmere Superintendant Glenn Johnson before the bond and levy passed.

Voters sided with school officials trying to keep up with growth in north Spokane and agreed gave the Mead School District another $114 million that will build a new middle school, elementary school and football stadium for Mt. Spokane and Mead high schools.

The educational programs levy is $1.27 per $1,000 valuation. This means that the district will be receiving less than half of their funding from local taxes if it passes.

A replacement educational programs and operation levy for the Tonasket School District is passing by a slim margin with 408 votes, or 51.06 percent in favor.

"I was nervous, my colleagues were nervous, my counterparts in other districts were nervous", said Catherine Carbone Rogers, a spokesperson for the Highline School District.

Entiat School district passed their levy, which was also a renewal of theirs that was set to expire within the year but with different numbers during their campaign.

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The Entiat levy is now passing with 62.2 percent of voters choosing yes.

The $3,090,048 levy comprises 23 percent of the district's total budget amount of $13,210,582. In Waterville, 7 out of 10 voters said yes to a replacement education and operation levy. "We also want to congratulate our neighbors throughout Okanogan County who are passing their levies as well".

She said with homeowners bracing for a big property tax hike, she was anxious that even though the new levy would actually be lower than in prior years, sensitivity toward taxes on housing would deter voters.

"So far, so good", said Davies.

"The state isn't funding more for education - so it's up to our communities if they want to maintain the programs we have and not take a step back", he said.

Only about 30% of registered voters turned out to vote.

With ballot boxes set to close at 8 p.m. Tuesday, local election turnout is looking strong for the February 13 special election.

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