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Posted on Feb 1, 2019

In case you need another reason to support the levy: Column

By Dave Burgess

Ballots should be in voters’ hands by now, and there is only one local item on the ballot. But Quincy Valley voters should pay attention to the ballot, because that one item is important for Quincy Valley public schools. And that means it’s important to the whole area.
If you have not made up your mind on the replacement levy yet, let me say that voting for it is one of the easier calls to make. Obviously, it supports local schools. If you need another reason, how about this: It is just a replacement levy that would charge a rate less than half of what it was in 2014.
The school district’s proposed replacement levy for funding in 2020 is at the level set in a 2017 state law, $1.50 per thousand of assessed value on property. The law raised the levy charged by the state but effectively slashed the rates charged by many school districts around Washington.
Darryl Pheasant, Grant County treasurer, said in an interview that most schools were negatively impacted and are having to make cuts. The change in the school funding system left some school districts without the funds that they used to rely on for things that were not being covered by the state.
But Quincy is not impacted as badly as other districts, because levy rates here have been falling for years.
Pheasant said many districts in Grant County were charging more than $4 per thousand, and some more than $4.50. Moses Lake School District was at $4.42 in 2018 and is now at $1.50. Ouch.
“Quincy is in a better position because of their higher valuation,” Pheasant said, referring to the total property valuation within the district going up.
That’s what economic development can do. Thank your Port of Quincy commissioners and anyone who supports the data centers as well as your local orchardist.
Pheasant said that school districts in Chelan and Leavenworth also have a high valuation relative to student numbers, so they are likewise not hurt so much.
According to the numbers put out by QSD, the district’s rate for this kind of levy fell from a peak in 2014 of $3.32 to 2019’s $1.50 – a steady decline over five years. Meanwhile, during that same period, enrollment rose a couple hundred students.
Enrollment up; local tax levy rate down. That sounds like a good deal, so I say voters should gladly take it.

Dave Burgess is the editor of The Quincy Valley Post-Register and can be contacted at 509-787-4511.