Rainier School Board Members Considering February Levy Measure

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The Rainier School District’s Board of Directors and other officials agree that the district will likely need to put a levy measure on the February ballot in order to properly fund basic education in the district. 

During the district’s monthly meeting on July 24, Business Manager Debi Holmes told board members in a budget report that going out for a ballot measure would be necessary to supplement funding for the district. 

“We have to pass a levy. (It’s) all hands on deck,” she said. 

Rainier will likely join a list of many other Thurston County school districts that have floated the prospect of adding additional funding, thanks to a piece of legislation passed last session that would allow districts to collect additional funding through a levy lift. 

Senate Bill 5313, which passed the state Senate 25 to 23 and was signed by Gov. Jay Inslee on the tail end of this year’s legislative session, would allow districts with fewer than 40,000 full-time students, such as Rainier, to levy $2.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value or $2,500 per student enrolled. 

Superintendent Bryon Bahr said more information from the school district will be available soon and that it would be important for them to pass it. 

He also said the board is still only in the early stages of identifying the needs of the district and that they intend to follow up with the public soon and keep voters informed. 

The current Rainier School District levy for taxpayers is $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed value, and it has been that way since a rollback during last year’s legislative session, said Holmes. 

Holmes said the district is considering putting a levy lift on the February ballot.