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Ballots for school levy measures go out this week

DAYTON–Ballots for a February 13 Special Election will be in the mail this week.

The Dayton School District is asking voters to weigh in on two replacement levies that will replace levies approved four years prior.

In Proposition No. 1, the school district seeks voter approval for a Replacement Educational Programs and Operation Levy. The proposition, if approved, would re-authorize taxation to finance educational programs and operation expenses not funded by the State.

The levy would collect $1.41 per $1,000 of assessed value in 2025, in the amount of $1,170,100. In 2026, the rate would increase three cents to $1.44 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, raising $1.212,900. The 2027 increase of two cents to $1.46 per $1,000 of assessed valuation would garner $1,293,187, and in the fourth year, 2028, $1.48 would be the rate per $1,000, collecting $1,305,800.

Among some of the school activities and programs that benefit from this local tax funding are Dayton Bulldog athletics, extra-curricular activities (field trips, clubs and organizations, Future Farmers of America, Trap Club, Robotics Club), food services, transportation, Career & Tecnhical Education (CTE) and Vocational Programs, maintenance and operations and others.

Also up for replacement is a Capital Levy for Technology, Safety and Facility Improvements, which, if approved, would replace an expiring four-year Capital Levy.

Capital improvements would be funded by a set rate of $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed valuation collected annually in 2025-2028. The first-year levy amount is estimated at $1,242,971; then $1,267,830 in 2026; $1,293,187 in 2027 and in 2028, $1,319,051.

Some of the capital projects indicated include upgrading technology devices and infrastructure, replacing gym roof and floor, upgrading access controls and installing main campus/field fencing. Planning is underway to replace carpeting in the Elementary building, remodel the Elementary Library, add a security gate and update the lift in the Elementary. In the Middle and High Schools, air filtration is needed for the Science Room, the Family Consumer Science Classroom needs remodeled, the auditorium is due for an update, the exterior needs work, the gym roof needs to be replaced and the Vo-Ag building doors need replaced.

Across the district, costly attention is needed on pavement, fencing, door hardware, technology and underground sprinklers.

School was interrupted last week due to the district's 45-year-old boiler breaking down and requiring expensive repairs before being brought back on line.

Columbia County voters in the Waitsburg School District will see a two-year Replacement Educational Programs and Operations Levy (EP&O) on the ballot. The 2025-26 collection would be at a rate of $2.50 per $1,000 of assessed valuation both years, estimating $751,326 in the first year and $837,434 in the second year.

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