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Voters approve replacement Ferndale School District levy

Ferndale School District sign outside the administration building on Vista Drive (October 22, 2016). Photo: My Ferndale News
Ferndale School District sign outside the administration building on Vista Drive (October 22, 2016). Photo: My Ferndale News

FERNDALE, Wash. — Initial results from the November 3rd General Election, a 2-year replacement Educational Programs and Operations Levy proposed by the Ferndale School District appears to have been approved by the voters with 62.4% of the initial 18,948 ballots counted approving the proposal.

The levy was proposed by the School Board with a mil rate (cost per $1,000 of assessed property value) of $1.50 for 2 years, shorter than past levies which have been for 4 years.

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The district issued a statement last night, November 3rd,

The replacement levy is not a new tax. Rather, it renews a levy that is set to expire in December 2020. K-12 education is not fully funded by the state, which means districts across Washington rely on local levies to bridge the funding gap. The passage of this levy means that much-needed funding will continue in 2021 and 2022.

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The tax rate for the levy approved by the community on November 3 is lower than what citizens are currently paying. The 2020 tax rate of $2.17 per thousand will be replaced by a lower tax rate of $1.50 per thousand in 2021 and 2022. The School Board reduced the rate in response to community feedback.

From a statement issued by the Ferndale School District – November 3, 2020

Voters in 2015 approved a mil rate of $3.70 for the current 2016-2020 levy but rate caps mandated by the state legislature subsequently reduced the maximum rate able to be applied. As a result, while allowed to apply a mil rate of $2.50 during 2020, the School Board opted for $2.17 instead.

In February of 2020, a 4-year levy proposal with a mil rate of $2.50, the maximum allowed due to a rate cap at the time, failed on a special election ballot with 57.5% of 7,561 ballots counted voting against the proposal.

The board approved bringing a smaller levy with a $2.17 mil rate over 2-years to the voters on the April 28th Special Election ballot but then opted to remove it after the COVID-19 pandemic response forced many businesses to close and lay off or furlough staff.

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Washington state law permits bringing another levy proposal to the voters once more within a year in the event a first attempt fails to be approved. 

Ferndale School District Superintendent Dr. Linda Quinn says, “We are so grateful for tonight’s election results. Thank you to the Ferndale School District community for your support of our students, staff, and schools. This measure will ensure we have continued funding for staffing, technology, programs and extracurricular activities such as athletics, drama, and music.”

Ferndale School District Board President Andrew McLaurin, voices his appreciation: “We know times are tough right now, which is why we so appreciate our community’s support for this measure. When the February 2020 levy failed, we made drastic budget cuts. When we decided to re-run this levy, we listened to the community for input and made changes. By approving the levy, our community has committed to helping us ensure our students are prepared for the future.”

From a statement issued by the Ferndale School District – November 3, 2020

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