School, library levies lead in election results

February 16, 2010

By Staff

Dr. Steve Rasmussen, Issaquah School District superintendent, shares a high-five with Sara Niegowski, district executive director of communications, the moment after election night returns are posted showing a wide margin of passage for three levy issues. By Greg Farrar

Celebration was in the air as Issaquah School District officials gathered to welcome election results Feb. 9.

The celebration continued Feb. 12 with the results released at 3:25 p.m. showing district ballot measures leading with 65 percent for a maintenance and operations levy, 64 percent for a transportation levy and 65 percent for a technology and repairs levy.

Once the election is certified, taxpayers will pay $4.81 for every $1,000 of assessed property for the levies and the remainder of the 2006 bond.

Levy supporters gathered on election night to await early results. As the numbers appeared on the King County Elections Web site just after 8 p.m. Feb. 9, sighs of relief, high fives and victory cries erupted from partygoers.

Superintendent Steve Rasmussen thanked voters for their support.

“This campaign was a community effort and took an army of volunteers stepping up because they know it is the right thing to do for our community,” he said. “Schools are the cornerstones for thriving and wonderful communities to live in. I think this bodes well for our community because they know the value and importance of education.”

The levy measures will supplement the district budget with more than $214 million by 2014.“First, I would really like to thank the whole community for standing behind our schools and this campaign and passing the levy,” Issaquah Education Association President Neva Luke said. “It is thrilling to me because we will be able to maintain existing programs and continue to provide an excellent education for our students.”

Assistant Superintendent Ron Thiele welcomed the election results. He had a bet going with himself that the levies would pass with 64 percent approval.

Other district officials also praised voters.

“I think it is imperative that the levies pass, especially, the maintenance and operations,” school board member Marnie Maraldo said. “With all the critical decisions we will have to make once the legislative session is finished, this is such a victory for our kids and it means that the impact to our kids won’t be as great in the classroom. It is imperative and our voters recognized that.”

Levies in other King County school districts also appear likely to pass. In the Snoqualmie School District, a maintenance and operations levy and a technology capital projects levy accumulated 61 percent and 60 percent of the vote, respectively, by Feb. 12.

In the Lake Washington School District, educational programs and operations, capital projects lead with 61 percent and 59 percent, in results released Feb. 12. However, the bond is failing with only 55 percent of the vote. A bond needs 60 percent approval to pass.

A levy lid lift requested by the King County Library System also led in returns released Feb. 12 with 51 percent approval.

Proposition 1 asked King County voters to restore the property tax rate to 50 cents per $1,000 in assessed value in 2011. A homeowner with a $400,000 home will pay $32 more next year if voters approved the measure.

More results will be posted to the King County Elections Web site throughout the week. The elections office predicted 35 percent turnout countywide in the all-mail election.

Officials tallied 22,418 ballots — or about 39 percent — from school district voters by Feb. 12. The district stretches from Sammamish to Newcastle. The elections office mailed 56,313 ballots to district voters.

Chantelle Lusebrink: 392-6434, ext. 241, or clusebrink@isspress.com. Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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