MABTON - Saying a proposed maintenance and operations levy is crucial to the education of its students, Mabton School District officials are asking voters to approve a $195,000 levy on Feb. 3.
The levy amount offers a reduction in assessed valuation for the voters, while providing much need funds to operate the district, said Kevin Chase, Mabton School District superintendent.
He said the new levy, if approved, would total $1.69 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. That would be less than the $1.93 per $1,000 assessment generated from the 2000 levy, he explained.
The levy will be used to continue basic services to the district, such as transportation, athletic programs, extracurricular activities, as a well as upkeep of facilities, Chase said.
Chase said voters' approval of the levy is necessary in order for the district to receive state equalization money. If the voters pass the levy, the state provides additional money for those districts, such as Mabton, which have a low tax base.
"In Mabton's case, the state will give us $695,778 annually," Chase said.
"If we don't pass the levy we can't get the state money and it will go to other school districts," he added.
"The state matching money is a very important part of Mabton's budget and is absolutely necessary for maintaining the level of services we provide in many areas," he said.
Chase said the district is asking that the levy be effective for four years, which he said will guarantee the taxpayers at least a level tax rate for the next four years.
"The rate will likely go lower as evaluations are done on property in the district. We understand the poor state of the economy for the agricultural industry and we want to keep taxes from increasing for at least the next four years by running a four-year levy," Chase said.
. Julia Hart can be contacted at
(509) 837-4500, or you can e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org