With less than a month until the Centralia School District’s levy proposal faces voters a second time, school board members and district staff are encouraging community members to reach out with questions or concerns about the upcoming measure.
The proposal to renew the district’s current levy at the same rate of $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed value — which generates a higher total amount than the expiring levy due to increased property values — failed on the Feb. 14 ballot 2,550 to 2,435, or 51.15% to 48.85%. On Feb. 22, the school board voted 4-1 in favor of placing the measure on the April 25 special election ballot.
Since then, both the City of Centralia and the Port of Centralia have passed resolutions supporting the Centralia School District’s levy proposal.
Because state law only allows school districts to run a ballot measure twice per calendar year, April is the district’s last chance to pass the levy renewal before the existing levy expires at the end of 2023.
“Please, if you have questions, call us, email us — we want you to have the information and we are happy to meet with you and talk with you. And no question is a dumb question or a silly question. This is complex and there are a lot of questions, so please reach out and we will answer any questions and meet with you,” Centralia Superintendent Dr. Lisa Grant at a levy forum held at Centralia High School on Tuesday.
During that forum, board members and district staff answered questions related to the levy from a handful of voters who attended either in-person and remotely.
Board member Mandi McDougall noted Tuesday’s forum “feels a little different” from the last levy forum the district held in 2020. Multiple attempts to pass a levy at that time failed at the ballot box, which ultimately led to the district operating without levy dollars between December 2020 and the 2022 levy collection cycle.
As for the reasons behind the different vibes at the Tuesday forum and the 2020 forum, McDougall said, “It’s no mystery why that is. We’ve worked really hard, and Dr. Grant has spearheaded that effort over the last couple of years, to be transparent, to be accountable to our community. So please, if you have questions, ask them, because we really do care that you have the information that you need to be able to vote.”
The district has a website dedicated to providing information on the levy, which can be accessed at https://www.centralia.k12.wa.us/domain/1093.
School board member contact information is available on the district’s website at https://www.centralia.k12.wa.us/domain/58.
Those with questions can also call the Centralia School District at 360-330-7600.
More information on the April 25 special election is available via the Lewis County Elections Office at https://elections.lewiscountywa.gov/current-election/.