Thirteen Yakima County school districts want your vote - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Thirteen Yakima County school districts want your vote

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YAKIMA, Wash- It's campaign season but in Yakima County thirteen school districts are stumping for education dollars.

"Now virtually every program in every facet of our education system benefits from this money", says Ryan Beckett

Volunteers with the Yakima School District's yes for Yakima kids campaign is trying to get support for a levy to bring over 54-million in local dollars to the district.

Something schools have had to increasingly rely on in the face of state budget cuts.

Levies are known for funding programs like music and athletics but can be used for any operational costs.

"Counselors programs in all of the elementary schools, levies benefit the school safety officers", says Beckett.

The state-matched levy would make up about 8-percent of the school district's budget.  And would cost the owner of a $150,000 house about $450 a year for four years.

Supporters hope even residents who don't have kids in the district will see the value.

"A strong school district actually supports their home values because as people move in and out of the Valley, they're more apt to stay here if they see we have a strong public school system", says Beckett.

The district says levies are for learning but bonds are for buildings.  There are two school districts in the county with construction bonds on the ballot.  The Selah school District's hoping voters will consider a modified proposal for school upgrades here at the middle school especially, they're hoping the fourth time's the charm".

"Last time was a little too ambitious so we scaled back we have just what's needed", says the superintendent Steve Chestnut.

Selah schools have modified their bond proposal that was repeatedly rejected by voters.  Their new project would cost residents about $185 dollars a year for a $150,000 dollar house.  And focuses on remodeling the high school and building a new junior high... the current one is 55 years old.

"At some point it's cheaper to build a new building than remodel the old one", says the superintendent.  Ballots will be in the mail in two weeks.  But you can expect some campaign literature in a few days.

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