Supporters of an educational programs and operations levy in Battle Ground came out in droves last week to make their case known as to why the approval of a multi-million-dollar ballot measure would benefit North County’s largest school district.
On Oct. 20, students and school staff from both Battle Ground High School and Prairie High School left their respective buildings and headed to the side of state Route 503, meeting at the Caples Road intersection to wave signs in support of the Battle Ground Public Schools levy.
The “March to the Middle” event was organized by the district’s student representatives — senior Sydney Cordon and junior Ricardo Martin Del Campo. Following a unique year characterized by the COVID-19 pandemic, the two decided to organize a rally to raise awareness of the school district’s ballot measure.
The estimated rate of the levy is $1.99 per $1,000 of assessed value on properties, lower than the current $2.32 per $1,000 of assessed value. The new levy would cost residents about $123 less on their annual property tax on a $450,000 home.
If passed, the levy would collect $26.75 million in 2022, $28.2 million in 2023, $29.65 million in 2024 and $31.1 million in 2025.
Wednesday’s event filled the corners of the state route intersection with levy supporters, as the afternoon rush hour brought the heavy traffic organizers hoped they would see.
“I was a little skeptical about how many people were going to turn out, and honestly I did not imagine this turnout, but I’m super thankful for the community coming together for the schools,” Cordon said.
Martin Del Campo, who donned the Prairie Falcon mascot costume, said the event was a way to show support for the district in a conspicuous manner.
“The people around us are students. The people around us are teachers, and we love them so much,” Martin Del Campo said.
The levy measure is on the Nov. 2 ballot and follows the failure of a similar measure in the February special election. At that time, the measure only garnered about 47.5% of voters in favor of the measure.
If the levy isn’t approved in November, Battle Ground Public Schools Superintendent Denny Waters said earlier this year that cuts would need to take place. That would likely include cuts to personnel. Waters said other impacts could include the possible elimination of art and music programs, especially at earlier grade levels, reduction in bus routes and larger class sizes if the levy fails.
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