By Polly Keary, Editor
The Monroe School District will get a lot of new technology and local levy funding for the next four years, following the passages of two levies last week. And the Sultan School District has passed a levy, as well.
The first Monroe levy, Proposition 1, which asked for a replacement of the “Learning Levy,” or the one used to supplement the state’s funding and that provides about 20 percent of the district’s budget, was passing with 3,514 votes, or 55.56 percent of the vote, with 2,927, or 45.44 percent, voting no.
Passage means that the district will collect $15 million in 2015, then a million more each year through 2018.
The second levy, Proposition 2, was for funds to update the district’s technology assets, including computers, networks, interactive white boards, document cameras and so on.
“It’s a mammoth step forward in upgrading technology, so that our young people can compete with children from other districts when applying to college, or to get jobs,” said district spokesperson Rosemary O’Neil.
Two years ago, a team of community members and educators compiled a list of the equipment that they believed every classroom should have.
They included a computer for the teacher, two computers for student use, an interactive whiteboard, a document camera, a presentation device such as a ceiling-mounted projector, and an audio-reinforcement system such as speakers positioned so that all kids could hear equally well, and a tablet computer for the teacher so that the teacher could move around the classroom while operating the device, and a printer.
Assistant Superintendent for Operations John Mannix has said that the levy money could bring all the classrooms to those standards within four years.
At the end of the week, 3,584 had voted in favor of the tech levy, or 55.83 percent of the vote, and there were 2,836 votes against the levy, or 44.17 percent of the total. Those margins have trended in favor of the levies as the vote counting progressed through the week.
“We are very pleased with the support we have received from the supporters in the community that we’ve gotten,” said O’Neil. “They have really made a difference in the lives of our students.”
Sultan’s school levy passed by a wide margin. So far, 64.68 percent of votes, or 1,465, have been in favor, with 800, or 35.32 percent, opposed.
Countywide, all levies are passing, including levies in Snohomish, Darrington, Mukilteo, Marysville, Lake Stevens, Everett, Northshore, Lakewood, Granite Falls and Edmonds.
Votes will continue to be counted as they arrive in the mail; they had to be postmarked by last Tuesday, but almost all votes are counted.
The election will be considered final Tuesday, Feb. 25.
The number of ballots counted to date represent about a 28 percent voter turnout.