A Pasco School District Educational Programs and Operations Levy measure will be on the February 13, 2018 ballot. The current two-year Maintenance and Operations levy expires at the end of 2018 and needs to be renewed. This is a REPLACEMENT levy, it is not a new tax. Levy funds bridge the gap between State and Federal funding and what it actually costs to run a school district.
Levy funds help support health and safety programs, student learning and staffing, instructional support, operations and maintenance, and athletics and activities. Just remember, levies are for learning and bonds are for building.
What’s New for 2018?
In 2017, the Washington State legislature changed the way that schools and education programs are funded in response to the State Supreme Court ruling in the McCleary case. House Bill 2242 (HB 2242) laid out those changes that are now in effect.
HB 2242 replaced the Maintenance and Operations levy that school districts previously used with a new Educational Programs and Operations levy. The State has implemented an increase to the statewide property tax to pay for the increase in State funding for education. For Pasco and Franklin County, the increase in the statewide property tax will be an estimated $0.89 per $1,000 of assessed property value beginning in 2018.
The State has also reduced the District’s levy capacity to $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value. The State has also restricted how school districts can use levy dollars.
Why Does PSD Need an Educational Programs & Operations Levy?
While the increase in State funding for education is significant, the State still does not fully fund school district operations and programs, and local districts must make up the shortfall through school levies. It is important to remember that this is a REPLACEMENT levy, it is not a new tax.
The District will receive State equalization funds if the levy passes. Currently, Levy and State Levy Equalization funds account for approximately 18.7% of the District’s annual operation budget.
Beginning in 2019, the local levy will generate $10.5 Million in funding and an additional $15.8 Million in levy equalization funds for a total of $26.3 Million in funding if the levy passes. The current levy expires on December 31, 2018.
What Does this Levy Support?
The Educational Programs and Operations levy will support health and safety programs and provide funding for high school resource officers, security officers, nurses, school counselors and school psychologists.
The levy will also support student learning and staffing by providing funding for Advanced Placement and Highly Capable programs for students, as well as instructional coaches, teacher mentors and assessment facilitators. Levy funds also support professional development and training for teachers, and provide funding for substitute teachers, assistant principals and special education support.
Levy funds also provide funding for instructional support like secretaries and paraeducators. Levy funds also help cover the costs for curriculum, professional development, interventions and technology.
One big component of levy funding is the support for athletics and activities at our schools. Levy funds help support school athletic programs and their coaches and advisors. Levy funds also support extra-curricular clubs and activities like robotics and chess club, as well and fine arts and music programs and competitions.
Levy funds also help support operations and maintenance programs, providing funding for custodians, groundskeepers and maintenance workers. Levy funds also help to purchase equipment and supplies, along with utilities and fuel. Levy funds provide funding for vehicles and maintenance, and the mechanics needed to keep everything running smoothly.
As you can see in the chart above, levy rates will drop significantly for Pasco and Franklin County residents, starting in 2019. The new levy rate of $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value will not change throughout the duration of the levy, through December 31, 2022.
To vote in the Feb. 13, 2018 levy election, you must be registered to vote. The deadline to register to vote online is Jan. 15, 2018. You can register to vote at www.sos.wa/elections.
The last day for walk-in registration at the Franklin County Auditor’s office is Feb. 5, 2018.
REMEMBER TO VOTE BY FEBRUARY 13, 2018.