MARYSVILLE – “It doesn’t look good,” was all Marysville schools superintendent Jason Thompson said after seeing election numbers Tuesday night.
He was gathered with other school leaders at The Village Restaurant.
The numbers are not good as the building levy was failing 60 percent to 40 percent, or 6,743 “no” votes compared with 4,580 “yes” votes.
Wednesday, Thompson said the district is saddened for students and the community by the failure of the levy. But he wanted to thank those who supported it, and especially members of the Citizens for Marysville Schools who worked so hard for it.
“At this time we are not certain of our next steps in our quest to replace outdated school facilities,” Thompson wrote in an email to The Marysville Globe. “We know that students and staff alike, along with our community, take pride in new schools, and we will continue in our quest to build community and earn the trust and support of our community taxpayers.”
Even before the results, Thompson knew the odds were stacked up against him and district.
The No. 1 reason is property taxes on average are predicted to be going up about $900 this year, after going down an average of $400 last year. Residents are expected to start getting their tax bills on Valentine’s Day, Friday.
If the $120 million school building levy passed that would have added on another $700 on average starting next year.
Another reason is Marysville historically has had problems passing measures to fund schools. The last school-building measure received about 52 percent approval a few years ago, but it required a 60 percent supermajority. Only two new schools have been built here in the past 30 years.
Also, Marysville is debating school boundaries right now, and some members of the public with children who may have to change schools were upset about that.
And, property values are going up 9.24 percent. Taxes are figured out on an amount per $1,000 valuation of property. The reason tax bills are going up so much this year are because of a local school levy increase that voters already approved, the new Regional Fire Authority and two state funds for schools.
If the building levy passed, Liberty and Cascade elementary schools would have been replaced, and all 17 schools would have received security upgrades. The levy would have been paid off in six years.
District officials decided to take the levy route because they didn’t think they could get the 60 percent supermajority to pass a bond, which normally are paid off in 20 years.
Its capital bond measure to replace Post Middle School and for safety upgrades also failed, 52 percent to 48 percent, or 3,102 to 2,899. It needed a 60 percent supermajority. Its operation’s levy passed 55 percent to 45 percent, or 3,329 to 2,745, and its capital levy passed 52 percent to 48 percent, or 3,184 to 2,917.
Both its levies failed. The operations levy failed 57 percent to 43 percent, or 1,476 to 1,099. And its capital levy failed 1,427 to 1,148, or 55 percent to 45 percent.
Fire District 15’s levy passed 65 percent to 35 percent, or 487-259.