Woodland Public Schools’ existing three-year levy expires at the end of 2020. In order to maintain existing high-quality school services and educational programs, the district will need a replacement levy to fund continued current operations.
Many community members hear the term “levy,” but may not fully understand what it means, why school districts need them, and what they fund. This article seeks to answer many of the questions you may have about what levies are and how they support quality schools.
What are levies?
Educational Programs and Operations Levies (also called “EP&O Levies”) bridge the gap between what school districts receive from state and federal funding and what it actually costs to operate high-quality schools.
Woodland Public Schools’ current three-year levy expires in 2020 and provides nearly 12% of the funds needed to operate the Woodland Public Schools.
What do levies pay for?
Levies help pay for everything students need for effective, high-quality learning to take place.
Here are a few examples of how Woodland Public Schools uses levy funds:
- Career and Technical Education programs;
- Additional teachers to ensure lower class sizes;
- Instructional assistants and other support staff including counselors and paraeducators;
- Custodial and Maintenance staff to preserve and maintain school facilities;
- Classroom supplies, curriculum, and textbooks;
- Technology equipment for students and teachers to enhance learning in the modern era;
- Specialized educational programs to provide support for all students to meet high educational standards;
- Transportation services to get students to and from school each day;
- Extracurricular student activities including athletics, drama, music, and clubs;
- Professional development and training for teachers;
- … and much more!
Why do school districts need local levies?
Washington school districts receive funding from the state and the federal governments. However, this funding does not pay for everything in a school district’s budget. In Woodland, local levy dollars bridge the nearly 12% gap between funding received and the actual costs of operating the community’s schools so the district can provide a quality educational experience for our community’s students.
In June 2018, Washington State’s Supreme Court ruled the state was failing to meet the constitutional requirement to fully fund education. Over the subsequent years, the state increased school funding, however, the state funding still falls short of what is required for Woodland to continue offering its current high-quality educational program.
What are the details of Woodland Public Schools’ replacement EP&O levy?
As responsible stewards of community funds, the District’s Board of Directors elected to keep the levy tax rate of the current levy expiring in 2020 for the Replacement Educational Programs and Operations Levy starting in 2021.
The district forecasts the tax rate in 2020 at $2.37 per thousand dollars of assessed property valuation for collection 2021, the same as the current rate assessed in 2019.
If approved, the replacement three-year EP&O levy on the ballot in February 2020 would raise $5,400,000 in funding in 2021; $5,750,000 in 2022; and $6,100,000 in 2023.
Woodland Public Schools succeed thanks to the support of the Woodland community.
Woodland Public Schools succeed thanks to the Woodland community.
Ballots will arrive in voters’ mailboxes at the end of January with Tuesday, February 11 being the last day to mail in or drop off ballots.
“Woodland Public Schools’ reputation for providing an excellent education for our students while maintaining strict fiscal responsibility comes from the outstanding and ongoing support for education consistently demonstrated by the Woodland community,” said Superintendent Michael Green. “Our community recognizes the high-quality education taking place in their schools, and we express our overwhelming gratitude for their partnership in educating our community’s children with high-performing, safe, and efficient schools.”
Community members interested in learning more about the Replacement Educational Programs and Operations Levy can visit the district’s website at www.woodlandschools.org/levy-2020 to find additional information.