Election Day is upon us, and 13 school districts are anxious

Tacoma News TribuneFebruary 10, 2014 

Tuesday might not feel like Election Day -- no onslaught of yard signs or media ads, no bulky voters pamphlet on your coffee table.

But in 13 school districts around Pierce County, voters hold the key to millions of dollars in tax revenues. Educators say the levies, most of which would be collected from 2015-2018, need approval to keep schools running normally and to make upgrades in technology.

Seven school districts are asking for yes votes on a pair of measures: replacement of their expiring operations levies, plus approval of technology levies. Those districts are Tacoma, University Place, Franklin Pierce, Bethel, Sumner, Dieringer and White River.

One district (Puyallup) hopes voters will replace the operations levy and also pass a six-year package of capital and technology improvements, one year after voters there rejected a school bond.

Four school districts (Fife, Orting, Eatonville and Steilacoom) are keeping it simple with just operations levies on the ballot. One other district (Auburn) is going with just a technology levy.

Voters in the Lakewood and Gig Harbor areas are only ones in Pierce County who didn’t receive ballots. The Clover Park and Peninsula school districts do not have levies lapsing this year.

Participation looks to be typically low for a dead-of-winter special election.

County Auditor Julie Anderson last month had projected a turnout of 36 to 38 percent, but a slow final weekend of ballot returns might not bode well for hitting that mark.

As of Monday, 22 percent of ballots had been returned, about 4 percent off last February’s pace.

“We have no idea if we’ll meet our 36 percent turnout projection for this election,” Anderson said in an email Monday afternoon.

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