Voters to consider school funding requests on February ballot
Benton and Franklin counties will mail ballots in late January for a series of school funding requests that, if approved, will affect local property taxes.
Ballots must be returned or postmarked by Election Day, Feb. 14, to count.
Here’s a look at the issues on local ballots:
Kennewick School District
The Kennewick School District’s education programs and operations levies failed in February and April 2022. The district is asking voters to reconsider providing local support to fund education in 2024-26.
A levy requires a simple 50% to pass.
If approved, the levies will raise $23 million to $24 million in each year by adding $1.73 per $1,000 to the property tax rate in 2024, falling to $1.68 and then $1.63 in the second and third years. For a home with a tax value of $250,000, the cost is $432.50 in the first year, $420 in the second and $406.50 in the third.
Pasco School District
The Pasco School District is asking voters to approve a bond to support school construction and remodeling. The project list includes a third full-service high school to relieve crowding at Pasco and Chiawana high schools.
Bonds require 60% approval from voters.
If approved, the new tax would cost 31 cents per $1,000, or $77.50 per year for a home with a taxable value of $250,000.
Richland School District
The Richland School District shelved plans for a construction bond, but is seeking approval for a six-year capital levy for safety and security enhancements and to evaluate and design high school facilities.
If approved, the levy would raise $3.9 million in 2024, 2025 and 2026, $3.8 million in 2027, and $3.75 million in 2028 and 2029.
The levy would cost between 31 cents and 27 cents per $1,000 or $77.50 to $67.50 for a home with a taxable value of $250,000.
Finley School District
The Finley School District is asking voters to approve a two-year education programs and operations levy to support athletics, extracurriculars, instructional supplies, technology, maintenance, staffing and more. Two prior requests failed in 2022.
The levy requires a 50% approval rate to pass.
If approved, the levy will raise $1.43 million in 2024 and $1.475 million in 2025. The estimated tax rate is $2.25 per $1,000 in the first year and $2.27 in the second, or $562.50 in the first year and $567.50 in the second for a home with a taxable value of $250,000.
Ki-Be School District
The Kiona-Benton City School District is asking voters to approve a two-year educational programs and operations levy, renewing a levy that expires this year.
It must receive 50% of the vote to pass.
If approved, it will support safety and security teachers, athletics, technology, maintenance, administration and more. It will cost an estimated $1.50 per $1,000, or $375 per year for a home with a taxable value of $250,000.
Paterson School District
The Paterson School District is seeking approval of a three-year educational programs and operations levy to replace the one expiring this year.
If approved, the levy will cost 68 cents per $1,000, or $170 per year in 2024, 2025 and 2026 for a home with a taxable value of $250,000.