Prescott voters to decide on replacement school levy

The measure would pay for a variety of items not covered by the state.

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PRESCOTT -- Voters in the Prescott School District are being asked to approve a $585,00 two-year replacement levy to help fund programs and activities not paid for by the state.

The levy pays for excess costs for operations and food products for the food service program, maintenance of building and grounds, updating classroom texts and materials, sport, technology, music, physical education and increased utility costs.

If passed the levy would cost property owners approximately $2.39 per $1,000 assessed valuation in each collection year. A owner of a property valued at $100,000 would pay $23.90 in 2013 and in 2014 for the levy. The estimated rate on the new levy is 21 cents lower than the rate of the current levy approved by voters in 2010.

Prescott School District encompasses a large portion of northwestern Walla Walla County, including Broetje Orchards property. The boundary extends east beyond Fishhook Park, follows the Snake River as the northern boundary.

"We are fortunate that we have a community with a higher property value," Superintendent Bill Jordan said.

The district's levy authorization is $773,644, but as the district doesn't require the entire amount "we see no reason to raise taxes in our community," Jordan said.

"We are just asking for the same level of support for our schools," he said.

The Prescott School has an enrollment of about 210 students, but a partnership with Vista Hermosa and Jubilee boost the numbers to 335, Jordan said.

The district's demographics include a student body that is 90 percent Hispanic. The district has 40 employees.

The school, as part of the Waitsburg-Prescott sports combine, saw a successful fall sports season. While the achievement of two state championships in one season is awe-inspiring, Jordan said, post-season travel added an expense to the current budget. The soccer team, in its second season, kicked its way to the top in championship play in Sumner, and the football team won the same honors in Tacoma.

The district implemented a zero period this year, to provide students an opportunity to retrieve credits and get help with school work. There is another opportunity at the end of the day, Jordan said. The program is supported with levy money, with a bus to pick up students for the early period.

The levy requires a simple majority to pass. There are 490 voters in the district.

"We really rely on the levy for 16 percent of our budget," Jordan said. "now we're using it operationally to keep us in a consistent level of service.

Carrie Chicken can be reached at cec@innw.net or 522-5289.

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