School levy would not increase taxes, but would fund improvements


As a community we are approaching an important election, the outcome of which will clearly affect the quality of education received by our school-aged children. This election will require a decision by voters on whether our community will continue to financially support the Grand Coulee Dam School District by approving a school levy. The levy is funded through local property taxes.

Why is a levy or tax needed? Our community is uniquely disadvantaged because of the large percentage of federally-owned land and land that is not otherwise eligible for taxation. This seriously limits our tax base, a resource that most other communities depend upon to support their school systems.

My intent here is to briefly summarize the most important aspects of this levy so that each of us can make an informed decision on this important school levy vote. Here are the principle high points that need to be understood:

• Approval of this levy will not increase property taxes over previous levy outlays. This levy will maintain property taxes at the 2017 level. Due to a decision made by our state Legislature capping operating and maintenance levies at $1.50 per thousand dollars of property value, the school district’s currently approved levy will be reduced by 63 percent starting in January 2019. In order to restore the lost revenue to the district, this current levy is being submitted to voters for approval. Approval will return the cost to property owners of $4.01 per thousand, the same as 2017.

Coulee Medical Center ER and Walk-In Care

• This levy will be focused on technology, safety and capital improvements. In year one of the levy, enhancements in school safety equipment will be funded. Upgrades in video/camera and communications systems for school buildings and buses are needed to improve the safety of school children and staff.

The ballots for this special election will be arriving in the mail on or around the 23rd of July and need to be placed back in the mail not later than August 7th. I want to encourage each registered voter to exercise his/her right as a citizen to vote in a wise and informed way in this election because our school system depends on it. For further information on this levy, please contact the Grand Coulee Dam School District Office at 633-2143.


Rich Black


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