Steilacoom Schools Call On Community To Support District Levy

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STEILACOOM, WA — As part of the Feb. 8 special election, voters in western Pierce County are being asked to weigh in on a levy to support the Steilacoom Historical School District. While off-season elections don’t normally draw much of a crowd, school district officials say: they absolutely need residents to step up and support their schools this year.

The levy, Steilacoom SD No. 1, is a replacement levy, meaning it is not a new tax. If passed, when the current levy expires in 2023, it would be replaced with a levy rate of $1.45 per $1,000 of assessed property value, raising to $1.93 per $1,000 of assessed value the next three years. All told, it would raise between $7 million and a little over $10 million each year for local schools. That may seem like big money to some, but district leaders say, it’s invaluable for our kids.

In an op-ed, Steilacoom Historical School District Board of Directors Chair Loujanna Rohrer and Vice Chair Jennifer McDonald explain that the levy accounts for nearly a fifth of the district’s funding, and will be key to providing a quality learning experience:

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“The state’s paramount duty is to provide for ‘basic education’ which means the state only covers basic educational needs. Providing the ‘Best Education for Every Student’ is the district’s vision, and this levy funds the critical services and program needed by students in our schools to thrive academically, supporting the whole child. The levy supports nearly 20% of the district’s funding focused mostly on school and classroom staff that the state doesn’t fund.

“Levies provide funding for essential staff like our school nurses and counselors, extra-curricular sports and activities, music and art programs, technology needs, and STEM and college and career readiness like AP courses. This funding supports strategic plan goals to lower class sizes and ensure we have thriving schools that foster learning, academic growth, critical thinking, and student success beyond graduation. This levy is very significant to the health of the district and every student.”

As the district also notes, not only is the levy not a new tax, but the total tax rate for levies and bonds is expected to decrease over the next few years, and is already lower than what most other Pierce County school districts currently pay.

“Whether or not you have children, grandchildren, or a neighbor’s child in the district, the strength of our community is dependent on the quality of our schools,” the Board of Directors’ letter concludes. “Strong schools build strong communities.”

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Registered voters may already have their ballot packets. They can be submitted any time before 8 p.m. on February 8.

Only 36 of our 46 drop boxes will be open this election. Visit https://t.co/xijmxXJ7YC to find a drop box near you. The deadline to return your ballot is February 8 at 8 p.m. sharp. But don’t delay! You can return your ballot to any of the 36 drop box locations today! pic.twitter.com/LfgvgI665M

— PierceCountyAuditor (@PierceCountyAud) February 1, 2022

The Pierce County Auditor is projecting a 35 percent voter turnout, so every vote counts.

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