PHILOMATH, Ore. — Voters passed the Philomath school levy by 132 votes. At a gathering at Philomath School Board Director Tom Klipfel’s home, supporters of Measure 02-84 celebrated a victory, but they were more surprised than relieved.
“Little disappointed that the margin was so tight,” said Tom Klipfel.
“It’s very tight. It’s a lot closer than I thought it was going to be,” said board member Jim Kildea.
Homeowners will pay $1.5o per $1,000 of assessed property value. That’s in addition to what homeowners are paying now, which is about $5. The increase may have been a reason behind the close race.
“Seventy percent of taxpayers don’t have children in school, so we had strong support from parents, and the community was a lot more divided on a new tax,” said Kildea.
The operating levy will raise $3 million over the next five years, saving extracurricular programs that were going to be cut if the levy didn’t pass. The close margin is a good indicator that board members have a lot of work ahead.
“The taxpayers expect us to be prudent with our funds which we’ll have to do that,” said Klifel.
“I think it will be very good for students and the community, and I think we owe it to the community to show that this was the right thing to do, to invest in our schools,” said Kildea.
Three board positions were also on the ballot. The incumbents, Tom Klipfel, Jim Kildea, and Don Cruise were re-elected.