BGPS levy fails in February special election

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The lion’s share of ballots for the February 2021 special election have been counted, and a replacement levy for Battle Ground Public Schools has failed to gain a majority of votes.

By the second count of the election released Wednesday, Feb. 10, the levy had about 47.5 percent “yes” votes for passage, 1,005 votes fewer than those opposing the levy. The ballot measure required a simple majority to pass.

If approved, the BGPS levy would have collected from about $24.9 million in 2022 to roughly $31.6 million in 2025, according to the official ballot measure submitted to Clark County Elections. The levy, if passed, is projected to have a property tax rate of $1.95 per $1,000 assessed value in 2022 and $2.20 per $1,000 in the subsequent three years. Currently the property tax levy that the ballot measure would replace is at $2.50 per $1,000 of assessed value.

Following the election deadline, BGPS Superintendent Mark Ross thanked community members who voted for the levy and Citizens for Better Schools, a group that campaigns for the passage of district-related ballot measures.

“The district needs the community's support to provide programs and opportunities that help our students succeed,” Ross wrote in a statement.

Following the release of the Feb. 10 numbers, BGPS Spokesperson Rita Sanders said the district did not have any information to share about what next steps the district would take. The district does have the opportunity to re-run the levy on a future election ballot, though whether or not the district’s board of directors would take that route would not be known until their next meeting Feb. 22.

The district had prior success re-running a levy in 2013, when the initial ballot measure ran in February failed with only about 46.6 percent of the vote. The re-run of the levy ended up passing with roughly 56.3-percent approval the following April.  

The most recent levy BGPS ran was in 2017 and passed by about 53.7 percent in that year’s February special election. More recently the district attempted to pass a roughly $225 million capital facilities bond that managed to get about 53.9 percent of the vote in April 2018, though school district bonds require a supermajority of more than 60 percent to pass.

According to information from the district website ahead of the vote, levy funds are used in a variety of ways, including elective classes, drug prevention education, building maintenance, special education, and technology costs.

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