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Posted on Feb 2, 2019

February ballot carries four school-related measures

The Quincy School District levy is not the only one on the Feb. 12 special-election ballot.
Ephrata’s school district has a levy and a bond up for a vote, Royal City’s school district has a bond measure, and Grand Coulee’s school district has a levy proposal, as well.
Quincy’s levy push is being spearheaded by a citizens committee led by Bart Yeates. The committee is getting the word out on the levy, reminding people that this is not a new tax but a replacement of an existing tax, albeit with a new name.
“The state changed part of the way school districts collect levy funds,” Yeates said. “It used to be called maintenance and operations, but now they are called EP&O.”
EP&O stands for Educational Programs and Operations. The money goes toward the same things as before, Yeates said, but the state wanted people to see the name showing a focus on education.
“What our voters need to know is, when the state changed some of the funding for education, it still doesn’t cover total education, so that’s still supplemented by the EP&O levy,” Yeates said.
People should vote yes because this money supports a lot of the programs children interact with, from athletics to band, to drama, to FFA, Yeates said.
“Those aren’t covered under the basic education funding from the state,” he added. “And they are important to the rounding-out of our students, and helping them become more complete citizens for the future.”
The three-year levy would bring in about $7 million in its first year and more than $8 million in the last year.
The programs that this replacement levy will fund include middle school and high school athletics, enrichment programs, technology in classrooms, counseling, academic clubs, library programs, safety upgrades, music programs, special education, textbooks, staff training, early childhood education, advanced-placement classes and security upgrades, such as a single point of entry at every schoolhouse.
The levy needs 50 percent plus one vote to pass.
The district’s superintendent, John Boyd, and assistant superintendent, Nik Bergman, have been giving presentations around the community. They can’t tell people to vote either way, but they are allowed to present the information, Yeates said.
If the levy fails, “It would have a dramatic impact on what we are doing going forward,” Yeates said. “It would really cut everything down to the bare bones.”
People interested in participating in the citizens committee, they can come to the weekly meetings on Monday at 5 p.m. at the Quincy Police Department. The committee averages about 20 people at meetings, Yeates said.
Other levies
Ephrata’s levy would help fund student programs and services. The district’s 20-year, $27.9 million bond issue proposal would help remodel offices and a performing arts center, enlarge three cafeterias, build eight new classrooms and three new gyms, repair roofs and improve security, according to a document issued by the Ephrata School District.
Royal’s bond issue proposal, for $16.6 million over 18 years, would help renovate the high school gym, bus garage, high school locker rooms, build new entrances to the middle school and the high school, as well as build new concessions and connecting corridors to Royal High School’s main building and library, according to a document posted on the Royal School District website.
Grand Coulee’s levy would bring in close to $2 million over four years and would go toward regular instruction, special education, vocational education, support services and other instructional programs, according to the Grand Coulee Star.

By Sebastian Moraga,