Several school districts around the Yakima Valley are seeking levies or bonds during the February special election.

Most districts are seeking measures that replace existing levies set to expire this year.

Local levies help pay for staff, student programs and technology. The state provides additional matching funds after a levy is passed, known as local effort assistance.

Levies require a simple majority of 50% plus one to pass.

While districts provide figures on how much a levy is expected to cost a property owner per year, officials stress they are estimates. Voters are approving or voting against the amount of money collected over a levy’s duration, not the levy rate.

One school district, Union Gap, is seeking a levy for educational programs and a bond to help with construction and improvement to facilities. A bond requires 60% approval to pass.

Ballots are expected to be mailed out around Jan. 21. The special election date is Feb. 8.

Grandview

Grandview School District is seeking a four-year replacement levy for educational programs and operations.

The estimated levy rate would start out in 2023 as $1.73 per $1,000 of assessed value on a person’s home. That estimated rate would increase to $1.81 in 2024, $1.89 in 2025, and $1.96 in 2026, district spokesperson Elena Olmstead said in an email.

The estimated total raised starts at $2 million in 2023 and would increase by $150,000 each year through 2026, Olmstead said in an email.

Highland

Highland School District is seeking a capital levy for safety, security, infrastructure and technology.

The proposed levy will replace an expiring measure, according to district documents. It would last until 2028 with an estimated rate of $1.57 per $1,000 of assessed value on a person’s home. As the assessed value of local homes increases, the estimated amount raised will increase as well, starting with $1.16 million in 2023 and rising to nearly $1.3 million in 2028.

The levy funds will be used for a variety of projects, according to district documents. This includes updating the heating and cooling system at Tieton Intermediate School, replacing the HVAC system at two school buildings, repaving parking lots and updating the district’s bell system.

Mt. Adams

Mt. Adams School District is seeking a four-year replacement levy for educational programs and operations.

The proposed levy has an estimated yearly rate of $1.50 per 1,000 of assessed value on a person’s home, according to the Yakima County Elections Office. This would raise an estimated $330,000 in 2023, increasing by about $10,000 each year to reach $359,305 in 2026.

Union Gap

The Union Gap School District is seeking a replacement levy for educational programs and operations, as well as a bond to finance improvements to school facilities.

The proposed levy would last four years, from 2023 through 2026, according to the district’s online levy information page.

The total raised by the levy would remain constant at $922,500, according to the district. But the proposed rate of collection would go down. It would start at about $1.54 per $1,000 of assessed value on a person’s home in 2023. It would decrease each year, reaching $1.49 in 2024, $1.45 in 2025 and $1.41 per $1,000 in 2026.

Half of the money raised will go toward teaching and learning expenses. Operations and technology would each net 17% of the funds raised, with the remaining 16% going toward student activities, according to the district.

The proposed bond would help pay for an addition of an auxiliary gymnasium at the district’s single school building, as well as other improvements to the site, according to the district’s online bond information page. The renovations would be complete around summer 2023.

The district estimates a tax rate for the bonds of $1.43 per $1,000 of assessed value over 15 years. The bond would generate about $9 million total.

Wapato

Wapato School District is seeking a four-year replacement levy for education programs and operations.

The proposed levy would have an estimated rate of $1.63 per $1,000 of assessed value on a person’s home in 2023 and 2025 and $1.55 per $1,000 of assessed value in 2024 and 2026, according to the district’s website. The total amount raised is estimated to be $1.525 million in 2023 and 2024 and $1.675 in 2025 and 2026.

The levy funds help pay for teachers, security, extracurricular activities, athletic programs, technology and other learning materials, according to the district website. It will generate $4.1 million in state funding, the district said.

West Valley

West Valley School District is seeking a replacement levy for educational programs and operations.

The proposed levy would last four years, expiring in 2026, according to the district’s website.

The rate would remain constant at about $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed value on a person’s home, according to the district’s website. The measure on the ballot authorizes $6.9 million annually.

The levy makes up about 11% of the district’s yearly budget. About half of the money raised goes toward student support, which includes staff, health services and transportation, according to the district website. About 30% goes toward student activities, like athletics and other programs. The remaining money mostly funds facilities management with some set aside for technology and security.

The school district has additional information about the levy, including a breakdown of state and local funding, at wvsd208.org.

Zillah

Zillah School District is seeking a four-year replacement levy for educational programs and operations.

The estimated rate of the proposed levy is $2 per $1,000 of assessed value on a person’s home. The district estimates this will raise $1.3 million in 2023 and increase each year to $1.475 million in 2026, according to district documents.

The district uses the levy funds to pay for student programs and extracurricular activities, transportation, security and instructional materials.

Contact Vanessa Ontiveros at vontiveros@yakimaherald.com.

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