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Oak Harbor levy supporters celebrate victory

By NATHAN WHALEN Whidbey News-Times Staff reporter
February 12, 2013 · Updated 1:18 PM
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Kenyon and Katie Blaine wave signs Sunday in support of a levy that will bring millions of taxpayer dollars to the Oak Harbor School District. Ballots for the mail-in election had to be postmarked by Feb. 12 to be counted. / Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times

Teachers, administrators, students and parents are celebrating tonight.

Voters in North Whidbey appear to have approved a replacement levy that will bring $7.35 million a year in local tax dollars to the Oak Harbor School District. Those levy dollars will fund teaching positions, instructional assistant positions, restore athletics to the middle schools, fund technology upgrades, textbook purchases and more.

An initial count shows that 4,533 voters, or 53.68 percent, approved the levy while 3,912 voters, or 46.32 percent, rejected it, according to information released by the Island County Auditor’s Office shortly after the polls closed at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

“We just saw the results and we’re cracking open champagne,” Oak Harbor School District Superintendent Rick Schulte said. “It’s a terrific victory and we’re really happy with the results.”

The levy results won’t become final until the county auditor certifies the election Feb. 26.

Once approved, the levy will cost a homeowner $1.98 per $1,000 assessed property value. The owner of a $250,000 home will pay $495 a year.

The new levy will be nearly double the current rate of approximately $1. School officials asked for a larger levy to restore some lost positions and services due to cutbacks from the state and federal government.

Schulte said the items promised in the Oak Harbor levy will be protected and can’t be interfered with in the event of further reductions in state and federal funding.

Lynn Goebel, co-chair for Citizen’s for Better Schools, said volunteers will be saying thank you to residents by waving signs at the corner of Highway 20 and Barrington Drive in Oak Harbor 3:30-5:30 p.m. Thursday.

The Oak Harbor School Board will discuss the levy results and how to implement the funding during a workshop 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19 at the Oak Harbor School District administration building located at 350 S. Oak Harbor St.

Two levies for the South Whidbey School District are passing at a higher margin than Oak Harbor. A replacement operations levy is passing with 67.18 percent of the vote and a capital and technology levy is passing with 62.15 percent of the vote.

The Island County Auditor’s Office will release a new count at 4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 14.

 

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