Auburn School District levy trails by narrow margin in early returns

A simple majority of 50 percent plus 1 vote is required to pass a levy, and the superintendent is optimistic.

Auburn School District officials and members of Auburn Citizens for Schools gathered at Oddfellas Pub and Eatery at 102 W. Main St. to monitor early election returns Tuesday night (Feb. 13), optimistic that district voters would approve renewal of yet another maintenance and operations levy.

In the combined early results of King and Pierce counties, however, Proposition No. 1 was trailing by 32 votes in the first count, garnering 4,702 yes votes (49.83%) to 4,734 no votes (50.17 %) of the 9,436 total ballots returned in the all-mail election.

A simple majority of 50 percent plus 1 vote is required to pass a levy. The previous levy, which passed in 2020, expires this month.

But district officials were upbeat.

”We appreciate the support of the community,” Auburn School District Superintendent Dr. Alan Spicciati said after the first numbers rolled in shortly after 8 p.m. “And we’re looking forward to every vote being counted. We have such a history of support in the Auburn community that I know we’re going to come out of this with the kids finishing first.”

The levy would collect $51.8 million in 2025; $54.4 million in 2026; $57.1 million in 2027; and $60 million in 2028. The total tax rate will remain stable.

The Educational Programs and Operations Replacement Levy provides 14% of the Auburn School District’s budget. Property owners would pay an estimated $2.50 per $1,000 of the assessed value of their property for each year of the levy. Actual levy rates will depend on whether property value projections by the King County auditor come to fruition. Those projections were used in calculating levy rate estimates.

Funds from the levy are used for expenses the state of Washington does not fully cover, including all athletics and activities, special education, textbooks, supplies, counselors, nurses, grounds, building maintenance, honors and Advanced Placement education and transportation.

Many school districts use revenues generated from participation fees at the middle and high schools to defray costs to play sports. The ASD does not.

“We’re grateful we have such a supportive community, and I’m optimistic,” said Cindi Blansfield, the district’s assistant superintendent for business and operations.

The majority of levy funds are dedicated to educational programs and operations. That includes additional teachers for a variety of programs along with additional textbooks and supplies, among other educational tools in district classrooms.