Toledo voters will see a capital levy proposal from the Toledo School District on the special election ballot in February that, if passed, would allow the district to complete the stadium at the high school.
During its regular meeting earlier this month, the Toledo School Board approved a proposal to put a three-year capital levy measure called “the stadium completion project” on the Feb. 14 ballot.
If the levy is approved, the district would collect $3.1 million over the course of three years, starting in 2024, to fund the installation of concessions, restrooms, grandstand storage space and a new rubberized track and field facility at Toledo High School’s stadium.
Toledo residents built the school’s current stadium out of investment proceeds and “sweat equity” in 1996, with the intent to add more amenities when the district had more funding, said Superintendent Chris Rust.
“They said ‘someday in the future, we’ll have the money,’” he said.
Twenty-six years later, the district decided it was past time to complete that vision, Rust said.
The board chose not to include funding for a turf field in this proposed measure, according to Rust.
“The board felt that they hadn’t had enough time to explore that,” he said.
With the most-recent evaluations from the Lewis County Assessor’s Office, the district expects the actual rate to be 90 cents per $1,000 for 2024, according to Rust.
If the district receives grants or donations for the project, the levy rate may be reduced in 2025 and 2026, according to the district.
The district timed collection of the levy to coincide with the bond tax holiday made possible by $2 million in savings on the new Toledo High School. Of that $2 million, $1.75 million went directly into the district’s bond debt payment fund in June to go towards Toledo residents’ biannual bond payments from December 2022 through December 2026.
“People will stop paying the levy by the time people will start paying the bond again,” said Rust.
That bond rate is set at 76 cents per $1,000 of assessed value.
When the district announced the bond savings at a community meeting in June, Toledo residents and school board members spoke in depth about the need to update the school’s track and talked through some possible options for funding those improvements, including a levy.
Most of the roughly 50 attendees at that meeting indicated they would support a theoretical ballot measure specifically to fund the track.
As a capital levy, the measure would require a simple majority of 50% of the vote plus one to pass.
Toledo residents who are interested in working on a committee to draft statements in support or against the capital levy measure are invited to notify Rust by Nov. 30 by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail at P.O. Box 469, Toledo, WA, 98591.