Carbonado school district puts levy before voters

“Time flies” goes the old adage, and the time has rolled around again for the Carboando Historical School District to place its capital projects levy that supports technology before voters.

The levy, approved in 1997 and again in 2003, will be on the March 10 ballot. Absentee ballots for the mail-in only process are arriving at Carbonado homes this week.

“It’s exactly the same,” Superintendent Scott Hubbard said of the six-year, $72,000 levy that is expected to cost taxpayers in Carbonado approximately 11 cents per $1,000 assessed valuation. That means the owner of a $300,000 home would pay approximately $27 in 2010.

“It comes down to about $2 a month,” Hubbard said. “We’re hopeful. It’s a bad economic time, we know that.”

A capital projects levy is limited to six years. In other words, a district can propose to collect a certain amount of money each year up to a total of six years. Typically, districts run these levies for the six-year period because it is less expensive than running the election more often. In addition, the tax rate is usually reduced during the time period because the taxable value of the district will rise during the six years, which reduces the tax burden on individuals.

Not to jinx things for the district, but Carbonado voters have never said “no” to the district and generally support it with a rousing 70 percent approval rating.

“We’ve been slipping the last couple years,” Hubbard said. “It was 65 percent, but we’re still the high-water mark for Pierce County.”

In a letter to taxpayers, Hubbard noted with the current state of the economy, more than likely the overall value of the district will decrease with home valuations fluctuating. This change could affect the homeowners between $10 and $20 per year, he noted.

“If the value of the district stays the same or increases (which is normal), the cost that we pay will go down,” he said. “The changes, again, will only increase or decrease the amount by no more than $20 a year.”

A simple majority, 50 percent plus one vote, is all that is needed to pass.

Hubbard said he hopes Carbonado citizens know the district is spending their money wisely.

The past six years, the district has upgraded to a Macintosh server and purchased software and provided maintenance for that server; put document cameras and an LCD projector in each classsroom; updated systems in the science room; purchased monitors, keyboards and mice for refurbished computers in the science room; replaced DVD players; purchased a wireless microphone system and replaced many computers.

Community members with questions about the proposal can contact Hubbard at 360-829-0121.

Reach Brenda Sexton at or 360-802-8206.