Blaine school district board members unanimously approved placing separate levy and bond requests on the February 13 special election next year at their regular monthly board meeting held at the Point Roberts primary school. Board member Kimberly Akre was absent.
Called an enrichment levy, the levy is similar to what used to be called a Maintenance and Operations Levy (M&O), but has tighter state conditions applied against it. The four-year, $7.5 million levy will replace an expiring levy and will maintain the existing tax rate depending upon assessment values in the district. The levy will increase to $7.85 million in 2026, $8.25 million in 2027 and $8.5 million in 2028. In 2025, based upon a rate of $0.98 per $1,000 valuation, a home valued at $500,000 would pay $490 annually.
The enrichment levy currently funds slightly over 17 percent of the district’s operating budget and is used to pay for, among other things, enhanced staffing units, substitute staffing, extracurricular activities, staff compensation (beyond state formulas), routine maintenance, transportation, food service, utilities and expanded curriculum adoptions.
According to the district, the average tax rate for county school enrichment levies is $1.58 per $1,000. In order to pass, 50 percent of voters plus one need to approve the measure. There is no minimum number of voters required in order to pass, unlike a bond measure that requires 60 percent approval (plus one) with a minimum turnout of 40 percent of the voters who participated in the last general election.
The board also approved placing a $70 million bond levy on the same February ballot that would be paid from local property taxes for up to 25 years. According to the district’s financial projections, the tax rate would not exceed current levels as existing capital levy and capital bonds roll off the books. The tax rate is projected to go down to $0.76 in 2024 and remain flat for the life of the bonds. A house assessed at $500,000 in 2025 would pay $380.
The bond would pay for improvements to the Pipeline Athletic Complex, Point Roberts Primary School (playground and exterior lighting), replacement of aging and outdated instructional spaces at the middle school, upgrades to the Performing Arts Center, preliminary design for the proposed Birch Bay school and updates to electrical and mechanical infrastructure. Projects would be undertaken following design and other preliminary work with timelines ranging from 2024 until 2027.
School district superintendent Christopher Granger emphasized that the projects were selected by a facilities committee comprised of staff, parents and community members.
“We’re hopeful that with time to communicate between now and then, we can get support behind what we’re asking for because it’s really neat and the district has done a fantastic job in taking care of its facilities,” Granger said. “I think educating people on the benefits to students is really important.”
As mentioned previously, a bond measure requires a 60 percent approval with a minimum turnout of 40 percent of the previous general election. The motion to place the bond on the February ballot passed 4-0.
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