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Coupeville voters face 2 school levies in February

Central Whidbey voters will consider two tax measures in February.

The first will extend the school district’s maintenance and operations levy another four years.

The second is a technology levy that will pay for new computers and other upgrades.

If voters approve both measures, the total tax rate, including levies and bonds, would go from $1.88 per $1,000 assessed property value to $2.21 per $1,000.

That 33-cent jump could discourage voters who may use their pocketbook as the driver in deciding whether to approve a tax increase, which concerned some school board members.

“They’re going to look at what their tax statement is this year and what it is next year,” said board member Kathleen Anderson at a special meeting Nov. 9 to discuss the details of both proposals.

The maintenance and operations levy will extend the one voters approved nearly four years ago. That levy represents 24 percent of the revenue the school district receives throughout the year, which is the maximum amount allowed by state law.

“People support their schools, people care for their schools,” Superintendent Patty Page said of Coupeville voters, known for faithfully approving levies. She said the M and O levy is especially important considering the school district has lost 10 percent of its revenue in recent years due to enrollment declines and state cutbacks.

The technology levy is set at $300,000 a year for four years. That money will pay for updating the school’s aging computer equipment, provide training for teachers and cover some infrastructure improvements, such as a new telephone system for the elementary school.

“I think we need to go for $300,000 a year because our kids are so behind,” Anderson said.

The school board met Monday night and unanimously approved sending the levies to voters on Feb. 9.

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