All local school levies passing in first ballot count

Next count scheduled for Friday, Feb. 16


OKANOGAN COUNTY – Local school levies from Oroville to Pateros were carrying the day in the first ballot count of the Tuesday, Feb. 13 general election.

In Okanogan County, the Oroville School District’s request for a two-year Maintenance and Operations Levy of $1,497,371 to be collected in 2019 and 2020 had widespread approval. The measure had 60.62 percent approval, well over the simple majority of 50 percent needed to pass. Oroville’s levy was different than the other school district 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 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 voters were approving their levy with 51.06 percent of the vote. The Tonasket School District was asking voters to approve a Replacement Educational Programs and Operation Levy with a price tag of $830,000 in 2019 and $900,000 in 2020.

Omak School District’s Replacement Educational Programs and Operation Levy amount is $1,990,760 over the two years. The levy was passing with 50.90 percent of the vote. Okanogan School District Okanogan is asking for a Replacement Technology Levy of $1,0855,56 to be collected over four years. That measure currently has 59.41 percent approval. Pateros School District’s levy is passing with 53.97 percent in favor. Pateros School District was asking $2,656,00 over four years.

Omak School District’s Proposition No. 2, bonds to construct a new middle school, was well short of the 60 percent needed to pass the measure. As of the first count it only had 45.91 percent of district voters casting ballots in favor of the measure.

The difference in the levies is that Oroville is asking for a direct replacement of the levy that ends in 2018 and at a collection rate of $2.72 per $1000 of assessed property valuation. The amount to be collected will be the exact same as the expiring two-year levy, but the amount per $1000 in value has increased slightly because of district’s overall value dropped, primarily because of the Buckhorn Mountain gold mine wrapping up operations and entering the reclamation phase.

Countywide the number of ballots in by Tuesday, Feb. 13 were 4,490 with 11,037 out. There are approximately 560 ballots that have not been counted, according to election officials with the Okanogan County Auditor’s office. This total includes ballots received in the mail and those ballots the Canvassing Board needs to review. The total does not include any ballots from the drop boxes.

The next county will be on Friday, Feb, 16 with the results posed by 5 p.m. The election will be certified on Feb. 23, 2018.