Voters in the Valley View school district were voting on a 6.49-mill permanent school levy Tuesday. JEREMY P. KELLEY / STAFF

Voters reject Valley View schools’ tax request by 60-40 ratio

Voters in the Valley View school district strongly rejected a new school levy request Tuesday, according to unofficial results from the Montgomery County Board of Elections.

With all 10 precincts reporting, there were 1,228 votes for the levy and 1,878 votes against, for a 40-60 ratio against.

ELECTION RESULTS

MORE DETAILS: Valley View pairs levy with cuts, reorganization

The levy was a permanent, 6.49-mill operating tax that would have raised an estimated $1.53 million annually and cost the owner of a $100,000 home $227.15 per year. Valley View’s five-year financial forecast from October projected the schools to run out of money during the 2020-21 school year.

Superintendent Ben Richards said passage of the levy, coupled with $1.5 million in budget cuts over the next three years, would have put the schools on sound footing for five or more years. Community reaction leading up to the vote was a mix of support for investment in the schools, and arguments that taxes and salaries are already too high for many residents to handle.

2018 STORY: Valley View hires new superintendent

Valley View’s strategic planning work has already triggered several changes outside of the levy process. Richards said class sizes in grades 4-12 will increase, with some teaching positions eliminated and others moving to academic coach or special project roles, to attack specific problems.

Tuesday’s levy was for day-to-day operating costs, not new buildings. If it had passed, it would have been the first tax increase since a 2013 levy. Richards said if the levy is rejected, the district will weigh where else to find savings for 2019-20. Possible areas include busing, educational staff and higher pay-to-play fees, among other areas.

2017 STORY: Valley View in contentious fight over bond for new schools

5 THINGS TO WATCH: Key issues to track in today’s election

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