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Mary M. Knight places levy on Feb. 13 ballot

Voters in the Mary M. Knight School District (on the Feb. 13 ballot) will be asked to replace an expiring educational programs and operations levy approved by voters in 2022.

Passage of the levy by a simple majority could raise more than $2.5 million. The replacement levy would collect $730,500 in 2025 and $818,200 in 2026. The district would also be eligible for more than $1 million in state-funded levy equalization money.

The current levy rate for 2022 through 2024 is $2.33 per $1,000 of assessed home value. If the replacement levy passes, the proposed rate drops to $2.08 per $1,000.

A district flyer to residents points out that property taxes are the

primary funding source for public schools in the state. Most of the money comes from statewide taxes, which provide for the basic education money that each district receives. This state funding supports 86% of the district costs. In its flier, the district states that it starts by leveraging state, federal and grant money before seeking funding locally.

"The Mary M. Knight District has a long history of supporting education," Superintendent Matt Mallery said in an interview with the Journal. "We're asking for their support again."

About 45 of the district's 172 students live in Grays Harbor County, so those district residents will vote in that county's ballot, Mallery said.

The district is "not a property rich community," with few businesses, Mallery said. That's why it's among 99 districts in the state that qualify for the state equalization money, he said.

Levy spending includes instructional materials and vocational programs. Seven of the 27 instructional staff members are funded through the levy. Levy money also supports extracurricular activities, including athletic programs such as basketball, football and cheer.

Levy money "funds our athletic program without cutting anything," said Tom Kerr, the district's athletic director for eight years. That includes helping pay or eliminating participation costs for students whose families might not be able to afford it. "It essentially eliminates all barriers," Kerr said.

For the first time since 2019, the school will be fielding a baseball team this spring, he added.

Author Bio

Gordon Weeks, Reporter

Shelton-Mason County Journal & Belfair Herald


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