by Doug Mah, Doug Mah & Associates, Thurston Chamber Public Policy Director
The Thurston County Chamber supports and endorses four Thurston County public school replacement technology and capital facilities levies on the February 8, 2022 ballot.
This February, the voters in the Olympia, Tumwater, Tenino, and Griffin school districts will be asked to approve “replacement levies”. These ballot measures are not new taxes but continue actions previously approved by voters and replace levies scheduled to expire in 2023. The levies allow districts to continue modernizing buildings and facilities that support operations and instruction when approved by the voters. In addition, the levies continue technology and communications improvements for student learning and safety.
The Thurston County Chamber’s Board of Trustees reviewed the district needs and unanimously endorsed approval of the levies. The Thurston County Chamber consistently calls for a high-quality public school system to support and help grow the region’s economy. A YES vote is the right action for voters. The replacement levies are local levies for local programs governed by local school boards. Successful passage of each school district replacement levy will help ensure the region achieves our shared goals for our children, families, and communities.
The Chamber Board of Trustees recognizes that technology and capital facilities levies are necessary investments that ensure the community meets students’ technology and learning needs. Investments in facilities will ensure that critical buildings and infrastructure is maintained, and when necessary, upgraded to provide a safe and secure environment for students and staff.
What voters are voting on this February 8, 2022
The Thurston County Chamber encourages a YES vote on the important levy proposals found on your ballot. If you are a registered voter in the Olympia, Tumwater, Tenino, and Griffin school districts, please remember to vote in this February’s special election.
Olympia School District
The ballot includes a four technology and capital projects replacement levy. Approval allows the district to collect $52.4 million over four years (2023-2026). The estimated levy rates per $1,000 of assessed value would be $0.92 (2023); $0.98 (2024); $0.90 (2025); and $0.94 (2026). The replacement levy pays for new and upgraded student computers; provides up-to-date assistive technology for students with special needs; updates school video conferencing systems; continues to provide Internet access for students/families in need; trains staff; improves safe biking and walking routes to schools; adds safety vestibules and improved external safety lighting in school entries.
Tumwater School District
The ballot includes a four-year Replacement Capital Levy for Facility, Safety, and Instructional Technology Improvements. Approval allows the district to collect $24.1 million over four years (2023-2026). The estimated levy rates per $1,000 of assessed value would be $0.75 over the four years. The replacement levy pays for new technology for our students and staff, improved safety and security of facilities, facility improvements and repairs, and pre-planning costs for the next new Tumwater school. The projects include Technology/Chromebook purchase and replacement, Safety Upgrades – including camera system replacements, school intercom/safety alert systems, safety lighting improvements, Earthquake/Seismic upgrades, and Boiler/Chiller Replacements.
Tenino School District
The ballot includes a four-year Replacement Capital Levy for Safety, Technology and School Improvements. Approval allows the district to collect $6.9 million over four years (2023-2026). The estimated levy rates per $1,000 of assessed value would be $1.11 over the four years. The replacement levy pays to upgrade building envelopes, HVAC, electrical, plumbing, safety and security systems, make energy efficiency/site improvements, conduct pre-construction activities, and improve technology equipment and infrastructure.
Griffin School District
The ballot includes a two-year Property Improvements, Capital Projects and Technology Replacement Levy. Approval allows the district to collect $1.5M in funding over two years (2023-2024). The estimated levy rates per $1,000 of assessed value would be $0.4494 (2023 collection) and $0.4342 (2024 collection). The replacement levy pays for continued modernization of facilities and infrastructure improvements for technology systems, safety, operations and instruction, and payments to Olympia School District for high school capital improvements.