Levy supported, so district is planning

No longer can the Enumclaw School District claim it never passed a technology levy.

Thanks to the state’s move to change voter-approval on school levies from a 60 percent supermajority to 50 percent plus one, students and teachers will see their classrooms filled with SmartBoards and document cameras, plus, as part of the capital projects portion, a new roof on Enumclaw Middle School and upgraded heating systems for several other buildings.

Enumclaw voters, in King County’s first mail-only ballot, approved the district’s four-year $8.4 million technology and capital facilities levy with a 52.81 percent “yes” vote during the Feb. 3 election. Final results will be certified Feb. 18, but the margin is leaving Superintendent Mike Nelson breathing a sigh of relief.

“We’re very excited and appreciative as a school system,” Nelson said. “It was a tough battle with the economic state. We are very grateful.

“I believe this measure, particularly the technology portion, will have a monumental impact on instruction and learning in the next few years,” he wrote to staff and patrons.

But technology won’t be the district’s first move. It will begin collecting the money in 2010, but officials are exploring an option to borrow the money from the state to take advantage of the economy and maybe get a better deal on the roofing and heating systems, part of what Nelson said is a desire to be good stewards of the community’s generous gift. If all the pieces fall into place, the district could bid it early and get the work done right away.

“Our first priority is protecting our buildings,” Nelson said. “The roofing and heating are number one, that’s what we heard from people.”