Voters in the Puyallup school district will see a familiar levy in November.


Voters will see the Puyallup School District Capital Levy again in November.

“It’s still the same amount as the February proposal,” school district spokeswoman Sarah Gillispie said.

Voters rejected the capital levy in special elections earlier this year. About 52% or 11,833 of the votes were “no” for the proposal. School district levies need a simple majority to pass.

The next election will be on November 8. Capital levy pamphlets will be mailed to school district voters in October. The school board unanimously approved putting the levy on the ballot at a June 21 meeting.

This levy on capital is still a six-year levy, raising around $125 million in total. That means homeowners would pay an additional 67 to 82 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value each year. If the capital tax is passed, the rate would be $0.82 in 2023, $0.79 in 2024, $0.75 in 2025, $0.72 in 2026, $0.70 in 2027, and 0. $67 in 2028.

The difference from February is that this capital tax will not allocate money for a new central transmission facility or revamp the current maintenance facility.

Gillispie said via email: “While we remain focused on consolidating our bus transportation facilities and upgrading our maintenance facilities to create operational efficiencies, we are exploring different financing options and changes in project scope.”

The money allocated to these two items in the initial levy will go elsewhere if it is passed this time around.

“Voters narrowly rejected the previous levy, so we came back to get community feedback,” Gillispie said. “We…determined that we needed to spend more money on safety and security measures.”

The school district conducted a survey after the February special election and got more than 900 responses. The results show that more than 300 residents voted to prioritize safety and security in the school district.

About 43% of the levy’s funds would go to safety and security improvements. This includes a monitoring system called security intrusion which detects and sends alerts about suspicious activity, cameras, alarms and fire protection systems. This also includes secure vestibules, which allow school staff to screen people entering a building.

“The idea is to limit the number of entry points into a building and funnel any visitors to the front office,” Gillispie said.

Fruitland Elementary, Ridgecrest Elementary, Waller Road Elementary and Walker High School would get vestibules if the levy passes.

Ballou and Edgemont High Schools as well as Brouillet, Hunt, Maplewood, Meeker, Shaw Road, Spinning, Woodland and Zeiger Elementary Schools already have vestibules en route, funded by a federal grant of $473,062.

Puyallup High School and Rogers High School received vestibules when they were built.

About 28% of the levy’s funds would go to technology upgrades, ensuring internet accessibility. This also includes technology device replacements and network cabling upgrades.

About 12% would go to building improvements, HVAC system upgrades, and the lighting, flooring, and roofing of many facilities. About 10 percent will go to outdoor learning spaces such as playgrounds and playgrounds. About 7 percent will go to site improvements such as parking and traffic.

When asked what would happen if the levy didn’t pass, Laura Marcoe, assistant superintendent of business services, said: “Eventually there are projects that we will have to pay out of the general fund.”

That would mean less money in classrooms, Marcoe said.

“It’s critical that we have equity drawdown financing for some of these large projects that fall outside the realm of day-to-day operations and building maintenance,” Marcoe said.

Angelica Relente covers topics that affect communities in East Pierce County. She started as a news intern in June 2021 after graduating from Washington State University. She was born in the Philippines and spent the rest of her childhood in Hawaii.


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