Election stands, Oroville, Tonasket, Okanogan, Omak and Pateros pass school levies


Final vote count and certification held Friday, Feb. 23, 2018

OKANOGAN – Oroville and Tonasket voters overwhelmingly supported their school districts by passing replacement levies for special programs and operations by 60 percent approval, according to the final count of the special election which took place Friday, Feb. 23.

In fact, all the school districts in Okanogan County that asked for levies got the support they were looking for, including Omak, Okanogan and Pateros, but a special school bond to construct a new Middle School was rejected.

Oroville voters said yes to a two-year $1,497,371 million Replacement Maintenance and Operations Levy with a vote of 515 (60.09 percent) in favor to 342 (39.91 percent) against. The levy will be collected in 2019 and 2020. Oroville’s levy differed from the other school districts in the county, as well as most of the state, in that it asked for an amount greater than the $1.50 per $1000 in assessed property valuation cap that was set by House Bill 2422. The school board was concerned that although the state has promised to fully fund basic education, including a new state property tax to make up for the difference in what the district’s say they need and what $1.50/$1000 would raise, there has been talk of making changes. The Oroville School Board set the amount at a $2.72/$1000 collection rate, knowing full well if current legislation stands they can only collect $1.50/$1000.

The rest of the districts in the county based their levies on the $1.50 per $1000 of assessed valuation cap as laid out in HB2422.

Tonasket voted for a two-year Replacement Educational Programs Levy of $830,000 in 2019 and $900,000 in 2020. Voters in the school district said yes with 970 votes (59.58 percent) to 658 (40.42 percent) against.

In the other school District’s Replacement School Programs and Operation Levies in Okanogan County the highest approval was in Okanogan, 61.39 percent; followed by Pateros, 59.46 percent and Omak; 53.57 percent.

Omak School District’s request for a 20-year $34 million bond to build a new middle school failed to get the 60 percent approval required. In fact, with 46.71 percent favoring the measure it didn’t even get a simple majority of 50 percent. Altogether, if the construction bond had passed, paired with the Replacement School Programs and Operation Levy, property taxes would have risen about $.49 per thousand of assessed valuation in the Omak School District starting in 2019. That’s because the special levy being replaced was about $1.00/$1000 less than requested in the previous cycle.