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Voters approve both Dayton School levies

DAYTON–Columbia County voters gave the Dayton School District good grades by better than fifty percent on both measures, results from the February 13, 2024, Special Election indicate. There were 1,207 votes counted by the 8 p.m. Election Night deadline, with 96 last-minute and any yet-to-arrive properly postmarked mail-in ballots remaining to be counted.

Columbia County was the top county in the state in terms of voter turnout, with 46.15% of ballots voted and returned for counting.

"That's great," said Rich Stewart, Interim Superintendent. "I'm just thankful I can leave Dayton with a positive legacy. We'll be working on our buildings assiduously."

Proposition No. 1, a Replacement Educational Programs and Operation Levy (EP&O), received 56.01% approval, counting 676 votes in the affirmative to 531 no votes. The EP&O levy was for $4.9 million over four years to fund programs at Dayton Schools that are not fully funded by State Basic Education dollars.

The EP&O levy would collect $1.17 million in 2025, $1.21 million in 2026, $1.26 million in 2027 and $1.3 million in 2028.

Proposition No. 2, a four-year Capital Levy for Technology, Safety and Facility Improvements amounting to $5.1 million, received a 54.43% approval from 657 voters. The no votes amounted to 550 or 45.57%.

The Capital Levy will collect $1.24 million in 2025; $1.26 million in 2026; $1.29 million in 2027; and $1.31 million in 2028.

Capital improvements planned on the school campus include:

-Elementary: New carpeting, library remodel and furniture, new security gate and lift update.

-High/Middle School: Air filtration for the science room, Family Consumer Science Classroom remodel, Auditorium update, Exterior refresh, Gym roof, Vo-Ag doors.

-District-Wide: Improvements to asphalt areas, concrete areas, fencing, door hardware, technology infrastructure and equipment, and underground sprinklers.

The final count will be conducted on February 22 with election certification set for February 23, 2024.

The Waitsburg School District EP&O levy passed by 55.68% with 370 ballots counted as of Election Night. In Columbia County, 19 voted yes and 26 voted against the proposition, and in Walla Walla County, 187 votes were yes and 138 were no.