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Marysville schools put supplemental levy on ballot for Aug. 17

MARYSVILLE — Marysville voters who cast their ballots in the Aug. 17 primary election will also be able to vote on the Marysville School District's proposed supplemental school support levy, in addition to the levies approved by Marysville voters in the Feb. 9 special election.

After the state legislature declared an emergency and expanded the school district's levy authority by 4 percent, the district's Board of Directors had two weeks to decide whether to authorize a supplemental levy, to provide funding for education support and operations, and ask voters for a property tax increase.

"Normally, we have until 45 days before the election to make that decision," District Superintendent Dr. Larry Nyland said. "We had $2.5 million in state budget reductions this year, and $6.5 million in such cuts last year. We've had terrific cuts to our budget every year for the six years that I've been here."

Nyland admitted that the Board was reluctant to put this levy on the ballot, given the district's other recently voted-on bond and levy issues, and reiterated his own dissatisfaction with what he identified as the inequities of levies as a fundraising measure.

"Eventually, though, it became a question of how we could not do this for our kids' education, given that the cuts just keep coming," Nyland said. "The federal stimulus is going away at the end of the coming school year, and we need something to offset the continued state cuts to our budget."

The proposed four-year levy would add an estimated levy rate of 20 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation each year, to provide $750,000 for the 2010-11 school year and $1.5 million for each of the three subsequent school years. The levy only requires a simple majority of 50 percent plus one vote to pass.

"That first year, we might fund a one-time expense like purchasing new textbooks," Nyland said. "Beyond that, it'll be a matter of trying to address the ongoing budgetary shortfalls for each year, which affect areas ranging from staffing to transportation. We can't promise to bring back teachers with this money, although we might be able to do that. I'm cautious about predicting where any of these funds might go, beyond education support and operations."

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