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Schools await Tuesday election

Next Tuesday, residents who live within the Coupeville School District boundaries will decide whether or not to continue supplementing the cost of education with property tax funds.

If absentee ballots are any indication, the election turn-out should be pretty high.

That’s a good thing for the school district, since at least 40 percent of the voters from last November’s general election have to cast their ballots in order to validate the election.

Of the 2,916 absentee ballots sent out to Coupeville residents, 1,442 of them had already been returned to the Island County Assessor’s Office by Thursday. In Coupeville’s last school levy election — in 1998 — only a total of about 1,900 people voted. Absentee ballots are not counted until after the polls close on election day.

While Coupeville residents have historically been generous in supporting their schools, some levy supporters are concerned about the election, especially with the current state of the economy. After all, levy issues need at least 60 percent approval to pass.

The Coupeville School District is asking voters to renew a property tax levy that expires at the end of this year. The four-year levy would mean an average $1.45 per $1,000 of assessed property value over four years, which is a ten-cent per $1,000 increase over the 1998 levy.

In other words, a Coupeville resident with a $200,000 house would pay $20 more a year in property taxes in 2003 if the levy passes.

On South Whidbey, both the school district and the park and recreation district are asking voters to renew property tax levies Tuesday.

The South Whidbey School District is asking voters to approve a two-year, $3.2 million maintenance and operations levy. The district’s current levy expires at the end of the year. About 19 percent of the district’s budget comes from levies.

The South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District is asking voters to renew a levy identical to the current levy that expires at the end of the year. If passed, the money would be used for continued maintenance and administration of parks.

Polls will be open on election day from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Anyone with questions about voting should call the Island County Auditor’s Office at 678-5111.

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