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February's Special Election to determine school funding, addition of new fire station

February's Special Election to determine school funding, addition of new fire station.

WAPATO, Wash.- It might not be the election to decide the next president, but February’s special election will determine how much funding schools in the area are going to get.

“These cycles are almost always dominated by the school districts. This year we have seven different school districts that we're conducting elections for,” Yakima County Auditor Charles Ross said.

Schools from Wapato to East Valley are on the ballot for levies to replace the current ones funding the schools.

For example, the Wapato school district is looking to replace a levy that expires at the end of this year.

The current one costs $1.75 for every $1,000 of property you have.

The new one will go into effect February of 2019 at the rate of $1.50 per $1000 of property. So, they don't add on top of each other.

If passed it will be a little lower, the levy will still raise almost $4 million for the Wapato school district. Tony Hernandez, with the Wapato Citizens for Better School, said that is around 10 percent of their annual budget.

“This is going to help every student in the district,” he said. “It's not just going to help one program. It's going to help everything that goes on within the school district.”

Other items on the ballot consist of funding for parks and recreation in Naches and getting a new station for Yakima County Fire District three in Naches.

Since this is a special election, voter turnout is usually smaller than national or statewide elections.

Ross expects around 30 percent of people to vote, which means every vote matters that much more.

“A lot of these elections can be won or lost by just a handful of votes,” he said.

Ross said almost everyone should have their ballot by now and they're due by February 13.

He said your ballot will only show the propositions in your district, so that's why you won't see the Wapato levy, for example, if you live in west valley.

Also, he wanted to remind everyone to sign their own ballots before they're turned in.

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