Voters in the Bethel School District are approving two levies – but not by much – in early returns from the special election.
A four-year School Programs and Operations Levy, which would allow the district to collect between $40 million and $45 million per year from 2015 to 2018, was passing with a 52.8 percent majority after voting ended Tuesday night..
A second district ballot measure facing Bethel voters was doing slightly better with 53.8 percent of the votes in its favor. The School Technology Levy authorizes $4.5 million a year for four years beginning in 2015.
Levies pass or fail with a simple majority – anything over 50 percent of the total votes.
Tuesday was the last day that ballots could be turned in. Voting began last month.
The programs and operations levy will, if it passes, help pay for about 25 percent of the district’s day-to-day costs. Those costs, which aren’t funded by the state, include teachers, curriculum and classroom support, bus transportation for students, extracurricular activities (sports and arts), campus security, school librarians, nurses and counselors, building maintenance and groundskeeping, and all-day kindergarten and other instructional programs.
The four-year proposal would replace the previous levy by collecting between $40 million and $45 million per year from 2015 to 2018.
The School Technology Levy would enable the district to assign a laptop or some version of tablet computer to each student for instructional uses and enhance their use of technology in preparation for higher education and jobs.
District officials say the technology funding would only be used for buying and supporting technology equipment. That would include the hiring of an estimated 10 new employees, half of them teachers, for additional workloads that would come with the expanded presence of technology districtwide.