Schools levies on ballots for Jefferson County voters

PORT TOWNSEND — Jefferson County residents will be asked to approve new tax levies to support their local school districts in a special election Tuesday.

Residents in four taxing districts in the county — Queets-Clearwater, Brinnon, Quilcene and Chimacum — all will receive a single proposition on their ballots, asking whether to approve new tax levies for local schools. All propositions are known as Proposition 1 in each district.

As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, 3,926 ballots had been accepted (29.35 percent). As of that date, 4,014 ballots had been returned out of 13,377 provided registered voters, for a turnout of 30.01 percent.

All measures require a simple majority (50 percent plus one) to pass.

Queets-Clearwater

In the Queets-Clearwater School District, voters will be asked to approve a levy of $85,000 annually for three years, expiring in 2027. The new levy would amount to roughly $0.88 per $1,000 of assessed property values. The current levy rate in the district is $1.23 per $1,000.

No for or against statements were submitted to the proposition.

Brinnon

The Brinnon School District is asking for an educational programs and operations levy of $684,561 over two years, amounting to $0.71 per $1,000 of assessed value in 2025 and $0.69 per $1,000 in 2026.

The current levy rate is $0.77 per $1,000.

No for or against statements were submitted.

Quilcene

The Quilcene School District is asking voters to approve a new levy of $904,537 in 2025, increasing incrementally to more than $1 million in 2028.

While the annual levy amount will increase each year, the amount taxed will remain the same for all four years of the levy at $1.35 per $1,000 of assessed property. The current levy is $1.14 per $1,000.

The levy, “provides an essential investment in our students by providing (Quilcene School District) staff and programs to better protect, serve and prepare our students for a successful future,” a brochure from the district said.

An statement in opposition submitted to the county said the district’s plan lacked measurable student improvement metrics.

“Explore alternatives, both public and private, with better cost/benefit ratios before committing tax dollars,” said the statement written by Roger Sorensen. “A ‘no’ vote not only reduces your tax burden but also sends a clear message: improvements must precede financial rewards.”

Chimacum

Chimacum School District is asking voters to approve an annual levy of $2.3 million over four years, ending in 2028. The amount levied would begin at $0.66 per $1,000 of assessed value in 2025 and end at $0.59 per $1,000 in 2028. The current levy is $0.69 per $1,000.

“The levy would provide new playgrounds at Chimacum Creek Primary and Elementary (schools). HVAC systems for heating and cooling would be updated,” said a statement supporting the measure written by Maren Johnson. “Improvements would include paint and carpet at Chimacum Creek Primary. Preparation for ongoing and unplanned repairs to maintain facilities would be an important part of the levy.”

No statements opposed to the measure were submitted.

Ballots were mailed to voters on Jan. 24 and must be returned before 8 p.m. on Tuesday. Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked on or before Tuesday.

Official ballot drop boxes are located throughout the county, including at the Jefferson County Courthouse, 1820 Jefferson St., Port Townsend; the Brinnon Community Center, 306144 U.S. Highway 101; the Quilcene Community Center, 294952 U.S. Highway 101; the Jefferson County Public Library, 620 Cedar Ave., Port Hadlock; the Nordland Fire Station, 6633 Flagler Road, Nordland; the Olympic Peninsula Gateway Visitor Center, 93 Beaver Valley Road, Port Ludlow; and the Queets Tribal Office in Queets.

Additional information can be found at the Jefferson County Auditor’s website, co.jefferson.wa.us/1266/Elections or at VoteWA.gov.

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Reporter Peter Segall can be reached at peter.segall@peninsulanews.us.

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