Ballots for Feb. 13 Special Election will be arriving soon; school levy on ballot

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Ballots for the Feb. 13, 2018 Special Election will be arriving soon.

The only item you’ll find on your local ballot is for the school levy, which is not a new tax – it replaces the current levy, which is set to expire at the end of 2018:

Highline School District No. 401 
Proposition No. 1
Replacement of Expiring Educational Programs and Operation Levy

The Board of Directors of Highline School District No. 401 adopted Resolution No. 23-17, concerning a proposition for a replacement levy for education. This proposition would authorize the District to meet the educational needs of students by levying the following excess taxes, in place of an expiring levy, on all taxable property within the District, for support of educational programs and operation expenses not funded by the State of Washington:

Levy Rate/$1,000
Assessed Value

all as provided in Resolution No. 23-17. Should this proposition be approved?

  • Yes
  • No

According to Highline Public Schools:

Our Levy: Less Money, Still Critical

Highline voters will be asked to renew an educational programs and operations levy in February 2018 to replace an expiring levy.

There is a gap between what the state funds and the education Highline provides to students. Levy funds make up the difference. 

The levy pays for staff and programs not yet fully covered by the state, like teachers, instructional assistants, special education, school nurses, security, extended learning time, athletics, Camp Waskowitz and other critical needs. Some examples are:

  • Additional teachers and support staff beyond the minimum staffing funded by the state. This allows us to have smaller class sizes and more teachers and instructional assistants working with our students.
  • Educational help for students with special needs, since state and federal funding does not cover the full costs.
  • Outdoor education experiences at Camp Waskowitz, including sixth-grade camp
  • Extended learning opportunities for students who need extra help
  • Athletic programs
  • School nurses (State funding pays for only three school nurses to serve our entire district; we pay for 15 nurses who serve medically fragile students as well as general health and safety needs.)
  • Teacher training days
  • School security officers

The state education funding plan passed by the legislature is a step in the right direction, but it is a work in progress. The state Supreme Court has ruled that the state is not yet fully covering all basic education costs.

Much of the new state funding comes from shifting some property tax dollars that now go directly to local schools from the state; the state will then redistribute those dollars back to school districts.

Even if voters pass a replacement levy, we will see a net reduction in funding after 2018—unless the legislature makes changes to the current funding plan.

The new levy tax rate is estimated at $1.50 per $1,000 assessed home value, compared to the 2017 tax rate of $3.38 per $1,000.

More info on the school levy is here, and below is a video starring B-Town Blogger Cassidy Huff:

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