The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Mark Heid
Superintendent of Goldendale School District 

School levy time again, but with a new four-year plan

The Goldendale Way

 


Is it that time again? That is the response given most often by community members when they see me attending meetings of local community groups and clubs. The answer is yes! It has been the practice of the Goldendale School District to run a levy every other year. In an attempt to save money from the cost of running elections and supply stability of finances for the district and community, the school district is now bringing a four-year levy to the voters.

Our community has been very supportive of our levies in the past, and we hope that a new four-year plan will get the same support. The wind machines brought in a surge of dollars in the past few years that allowed the district to maintain financing at a lower cost to the public. The time has come when the wind machines have begun to depreciate at a rate of 4 percent to 8 percent per year, causing the 2013 levy rate of $1.98 per thousand to increase to $2.08 for the upcoming 2014 year.

From 2007-2012, the proposed levy rate passed by our community had been at the $2.49 per thousand. The proposal that is being shared now remains below that amount until the last year of the levy (2018), when it is a rate of $2.51 per thousand. In working closely with the county assessor, the figures we are using are very conservative and are worst-case scenarios. Improvements made to the wind machines could put them back to the top of the depreciation model, but the impact of depreciation is fairly new.

This four-year levy proposal is as follows:

2015 $2,509.797 @ $2.15/$1,000

2016 $2,585,091 @ $2.27/$1,000

2017 $2,662,644 @ $2.39/$1,000

2018 $2,742,523 @ $2.51/$1,000

Each year increases 3 percent to cover inflation and unforeseen costs. The school district will continue to fund and improve programs that have normally been on previous levies, with additions in professional development needed for staff and administration to become trained on new evaluation requirements and the implementation of Common Core Curriculum next year. Both of these programs are legislative mandates given to us by our state and federal governments. We must also upgrade our computer labs that are needed to meet student testing requirements; these tests can only be taken on computers in the future. The Goldendale School District does not receive any levy equalization dollars from the state because of its higher property assessment.

We know our community has supported the kids of our community, and we hope that continues. We have had success in passing our school levies, and we have many fans for school events that include athletics, concerts, drama productions, and competitions. We appreciate the support this community gives to the Timberwolves.

We hope that our voters will understand the need to run a 4-year levy for the first time so that we can budget for the next few years and continue to focus on student success. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at 773-5177 or via email at mheid@gsd404.org.

 

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