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Levies passing for most Spokane-area schools, but bond proposals failing

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(The Center Square) – Property tax levy proposals for 13 Spokane-area school districts are passing – some narrowly – but voters in five districts are rejecting long-term, multi-million-dollar bond proposals, based on initial tallies from Tuesday’s special elections.

The Spokane School District floated a $200 million construction-and-renovation bond measure, which received 54.3% of the initial vote, short of the 60% approval needed for passage, according to preliminary ballot results compiled by the Spokane County Auditor’s Office.

However, the school district’s proposed three-year, education-and-operations levy only needs a simple-majority vote and it was passing at 54.7%. If approved, the levy will replace an existing one which expires at the end of this year. The proposition calls for an estimated tax rate of $2.50 per $1,000 of assessed property valuation to collect $95 million in 2025, $99 million in 2026, and $103 million in 2027. That equates to $83 a month or $1,000 a year for the owner of a $400,000 home within the school district.

Other area school districts with E&O replacement levies that were passing on Tuesday included Central Valley, Cheney, East Valley, Freeman, Liberty, Mead, Medical Lake, Nine Mile Falls, Riverside and West Valley. All need simple-majority votes for passage.

Cheney, Freeman, Liberty and Medical Lake also had separate property tax levy proposals to fund safety, facility and technology improvements in their districts. Of those, all were passing except Freeman’s, which was failing with 47.9% voter approval.

Levy dollars support school functions that are not directly paid by the state. Levy passage is also needed for districts which qualify for state “equalization assistance” – additional funds provided to “property poor” districts with lower assessed valuations – but only if their levies are approved by voters.

Spokane County elections officials will continue updating results as more ballots are processed in the days ahead. Final results must be certified by Feb. 23 for submittal to the Washington Secretary of State’s Office.

The following results are from Tuesday’s initial ballot counts. More information is available on the Spokane County elections website.

CENTRAL VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT – Proposition 1 (education-and-operations levy): yes – 9,893 (51.7%); no – 9,236 (48.3%). Proposition 2 (safety, facility, technology levy): yes – 9,831 (51.3%); no – 9,313 (48.6%).

CHENEY SCHOOL DISTRICT – Proposition 1 (E&O levy): yes – 3,320 (55%); no – 2,702 (44.8%). Proposition 2 ($72 million construction bond): yes – 3,246 (53.8%); no – 2,785 (46.1%). Proposition 3 (SFT levy): yes – 3,426 (57.8%); no – 2.487 (41.9%).

DEER PARK SCHOOL DISTRICT – Proposition 1 (E&O levy): yes – 1,253 (56.3%); no – 969 (43.5%). Proposition 2 ($62 million construction bond): yes – 1,158 (51.7%); no 1,081 (48.2%).

EAST VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT – Proposition 1 E&O (levy): yes – 2,606 (52.5%); no – 2,362 (47.5%).

FREEMAN SCHOOL DISTRICT – Proposition 1 (E&O levy): yes – 805 (52.6%); no – 720 (47.1%). Proposition 2 (SFT levy): yes – 734 (47.9%); no – 796 (52%).

GREAT NORTHERN SCHOOL DISTRICT – Proposition 1 (E&O levy): yes – 149 (69%); no – 67 (31%).

LIBERTY SCHOOL DISTRICT – Proposition 1 (E&O levy): yes – 706 (58.9%); no – 488 (40.7%). Proposition 2 (SFT levy): yes – 730 (61.1%); no – 462 (38.7%).

MEAD SCHOOL DISTRICT – Proposition 1 (E&O levy): yes – 7,401 (51.7%); no – 6,912 (48.3%).

MEDICAL LAKE SCHOOL DISTRICT – Proposition 1 (E&O levy): yes – 823 (51.5%); no – 773 (48.3%). Proposition 1 (SFT levy): yes – 861 (53.8%); no – 737 (46.1%).

NINE MILE FALLS SCHOOL DISTRICT – Proposition 1 (E&O levy): yes – 473 (51.6%); no – 444 (48.4%).

RIVERSIDE SCHOOL DISTRICT – Proposition 1 (E&O levy): yes – 1,702 (55%); no – 1,391 (45%). Proposition 2 ($73 million construction bond): yes – 1,565 (50.5%); no – 1,530 (49.4%).

SPOKANE SCHOOL DISTRICT – Proposition 1 (E&O levy): yes – 22,301 (54.7%); no – 18,474 (45.3%). Proposition 2 ($200 million construction bond): yes – 21,366 (54.3%); no – 17,940 (45.6%).

WEST VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT – Proposition 1 (E&O levy): yes – 2,242 (54.4%); no – 1,875 (45.5%). Proposition 2 ($92 million construction bond): yes – 2,076 (50.1%); no – 2,068 (49.9%).