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Levy is subject of three sessions

Community members will have an opportunity for hands-on interaction and a chance to get answers to questions regarding the Enumclaw School District’s upcoming $8.4 million capital facilities and instructional technology levy.

The first of three meetings, hosted by the 4RKids Committee, will be 7 p.m. Thursday at the Enumclaw Public Library. A second forum is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Enumclaw Senior Activity Center and the third, is set for 7 to 8 p.m. Jan. 15 at the Black Diamond Community Center. A presentation to the Enumclaw Rotary Club is also scheduled for noon Thursday.

According to Kathleen Michael, 4RKids Committee chairwoman, the forums will have a brief introduction and overview of the levy measure presented by a district staff member, which will be followed by a technology equipment demonstration. The remainder of time will be left for individual discussion and questions.

“The goal is to have it more like an interactive open house-type setting versus a sit down meeting,” Michael said.

Absentee ballots for the Feb. 3 election are set to hit the mail beginning Jan. 14.

If approved, the levy, which requires 51 percent voter approval, would buy Enumclaw Middle School a much-needed roof, update heating systems at EMS, Westwood Elementary School and the high school and put technology in the hands of students in every classroom.

Enumclaw Middle School’s roof, the original from 1984, is past replacement, district officials have said. The heating and control systems at Westwood, EMS and the high school will also be replaced, these also past their life span.

The technology piece, which will go into every core classroom in the district, will buy document cameras, SmartBoards, computers and mobile laptop labs with wireless connections. The levy will also provide money to purchase the infrastructure to support the technology and the money to train the teachers to use it.

The district has been using money for repairs and technology purchases from its general fund, and leaders said with the belt-tightening going on as the state continues to make cuts, that’s getting harder to do.

The district is asking voters to approve a four-year levy with collection beginning in 2010. Collection will be front-loaded to cover the more expensive construction projects right away, so the first year will be $2.9 million at 87 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. The owner of a $300,000 home would pay,$261 a year. By 2013, that number will be $1.2 million at a rate of 33 cents per $1,000, or $99 for the owner of a $300,000 home.

The district has set up a link through its Web site, www.enumclaw.wednet.edu, that answers questions about the levy. The page will also include a blog for comments and discussion.

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