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EMS, school levies to be decided Tuesday

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Vote Tuesday

Ballots must be postmarked by Tuesday to be counted for the EMS levy and local school levy’s.

Voters will decide Tuesday whether to continue the Walla Walla County Emergency Medical Services levy and adopt several local school district funding measures.

Ballots must be dropped off at designated community sites or be postmarked no later than Tuesday.

As of Friday, 10,410 ballots, or 29.7% percent, had been received in Walla Walla County from the approximately 35,053 registered voters in the election, County Elections Supervisor Dave Valiant said.

He said he is expecting 40% of ballots to be returned by Tuesday.

The last EMS levy election received 31.46% of the ballots on the Friday before election day, and in 2016 the number was 34.67%, Valiant said.

The current EMS levy taxes 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value and expires Dec. 31, 2020. That’s an annual cost of $125 for a home valued at $250,000, for example.

The same rate is on this week’s ballot again and needs a 50% majority to pass. The levy would run for six years.

Walla Walla, College Place, Dixie, Waitsburg, Dayton and Prescott schools are among 290-plus districts seeking levies across Washington state.

Levy proposals seek funding for a range of needs not covered by state basic education funding, from learning to transportation to technology to maintenance to capital projects within a district.

Each district determines its proposed levy amount, and rates are set based on property values.

School districts with fewer than 40,000 full-time students — all area schools fall into this category — can ask for levies of $2.50 per $1,000 of assessed value or $2,500 per student, whichever is greater.

Walla Walla’s levy would pay salaries of teachers for classes such as advanced placement, music, art, drama and physical education. It also would fund all extra-curricular activities — those not considered by the state to come under basic education, said Superintendent Wade Smith.

The money funds employees, including health clinicians, classroom assistants, custodians and school safety officers. Levies also pay for classroom supplies and technology, he said.

More details about the local school levies can be found at ubne.ws/schoollevies. Information on the county EMS levy can be found at ubne.ws/EMSlevy.

Chloe LeValley can be reached at chloelevalley@wwub.com or 509-526-8326.

Chloe LeValley covers civic engagement in the Walla Walla Valley including city governments, county commissioners and other civic groups. She is a recent graduate from San Francisco State University and came to join our team in October 2019.