Local option vote set for November

A total of 12 percent of the Lake Oswego School District's budget rests on voter's checking 'yes' this November to a local option renewal that would begin in 2010.

The current levy, which has been in place since 2000, will put $6.8 million in the district's coffers for the 2008-2009 year. The money would go in the general fund, which largely supports teacher and staff salaries.

The school board decided to place the levy on the 2008 ballot to take advantage of the typically larger voter turnout of a presidential election year. If the levy doesn't pass this fall, the board would have to try again in 2009 - a year that would require the district to get a double majority to win.

School districts have had the authority to ask for five-year levies for general fund money since 1999, and the Lake Oswego School District has had one in place since 2000.

The current levy passed in November 2004 with 53 percent of voters in favor. The district will keep the same rate of $1.39 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

There would be no tax increase. Instead, voters should know that the tax burden would actually decrease in 2010 with or without the vote, pointed out district financial director Stuart Ketzler.

The district will retire a debt in June 2010 - currently 27 cents per $1,000 of assessed value - from the 1990 Oak Creek Elementary School construction.

So, in 2010, property tax bills would show a total of about $6.81 per $1,000 assessed value that would be broken down in three ways:

n $4.47 is the permanent local tax rate as set by Measures 5 and 50.

n $1.39 is the five-year local option renewal on the November ballot.

n $.95 pays for the 2000 facility improvement bond that paid for the construction of Lake Oswego High School and improvements at Lakeridge High School.

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