Voters narrowly approved the School District 6 high school levy on May 6. With a 21 percent turnout, 983 voters cast ballots for the levy and 924 were against. Voter turnout was 16 percent in last year’s school levy election.
The $478,984 levy will raise annual property taxes by $17.49 on a home with a market value of $100,000 and by $34.98 on a home with a market value of $200,000.
The School District 6 board of trustees requested the levy to help shore up a $422,000 overall budget reduction since 2010. Columbia Falls High School has lost about 91 students since 2010 and has cut several teaching positions as a result
About 80 percent of the levy funds will go toward enhancing or creating new and innovative programs at the high school The remaining 20 percent will cover current programs, increases in personnel costs and inflation.
Rural voters in School District 6 voted 514-437 in opposition to the levy, city voters were 402-273 in favor, Canyon voters were 97-87 in opposition, and West Glacier voters were 57-40 in favor.
The success of School District 6 levies in the past has been mixed. Last year’s levy election was held in June as the board waited to see what the legislature would do.
• June 4, 2013 — elementary levy, 89,565, failed; high school levy, 96,454, failed
• May 8, 2012 — elementary levy, $91,544, passed; high school levy, $81,985, passed
• May 6, 2008 — elementary levy, $69,607, passed; high school levy, $142,000, failed.
• May 8, 2007 — elementary levy, $241,395, passed.
• May 2, 2006 — elementary levy, $297,444, passed; high school levy, $89,362, passed.