DISTRICT INFORMATION Posted Apr 24, 2017, 3:13:14 PM: TRAFFIC ALERT: Please plan for possible traffic delays both on your way to morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up as a result of the grand opening of Ilani Casino in Ridgefield. Parking lot overflow is causing delays to both Interstate-5 and the surrounding side streets. This traffic may also cause delays to KWRL bus routes causing buses to be late picking up and/or dropping off your students.

Operations & Maintenance (O&M/M&O) Replacement Levy Information

Click here to download the Replacement Operations & Maintenance Levy Mailer!

 

Click here for the Spanish version

 

This website is your resource to learn all about the upcoming levy scheduled for election on Tuesday, February 14, 2017. We encourage you to read through the following topics and send us any questions (via email to jacobsoe@woodlandschools.org) you may have so we can ensure you have all the information you need regarding the Operations & Maintenance Replacement Levy.

Overview

In February 2017, Woodland voters will have the opportunity to vote on the Woodland Public Schools Operations and Maintenance Replacement Levy. The levy replaces an expiring levy previously approved by Woodland voters.

Following are the rates for the expiring levy:

  • 2014: $2.57 per $1,000 of assessed property value
  • 2015: $2.76 per $1,000 of assessed property value
  • 2016: $2.62 per $1,000 of assessed property value

In October 2016, the Woodland School Board determined the amounts to be requested: $4,500,000 in 2018; $4,750,000 in 2019; and $5,000,000 in 2020. The estimated tax rates per $1,000 of assessed property value are $2.70 for 2018; $2.70 for 2019; and $2.69 for 2020, resulting in Woodland Public Schools' tax rates remaining among the lowest of Clark and Cowlitz counties as shown in this chart:

 Tax Rate Comparison - Projected 2017



The three-year Operations and Maintenance Levy provides funds needed to operate the Woodland Public Schools. Levy funds support basic day-to-day operations including: teachers and instructional assistants; textbooks and classroom supplies; bilingual and special education services; student activities such as athletics, drama and music; and professional development and training for teachers.

Projected use of the Woodland Public Schools 2017 Replacement Operations and Maintenance Levy

Primer on Levies

Many community members often hear the term "levy," but may not fully understand what it means, why school districts need levies, and what levies fund. This article seeks to answer many of the questions you may have about what levies are and how they support quality schools: click here to read the district's primer on school levies.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Levies bridge the gap between state funding and the amount districts need to operate.What is a levy?

A levy is a request by a school district of voters to raise or continue property taxes for a limited number of years for operations costs. Local levies bridge the gap between state funding and what it actually costs to operate schools.

Why is local funding necessary? Isn’t the state required to pay for basic education?

Continuation of local funding is crucial because the state only pays for about 74.95% of the total education costs in Woodland. Other non-tax sources also contribute to the district's revenue with local levy dollars supplying 16.7% of the district's annual budget.

Didn’t the district just receive additional state funding as a result of the State Supreme Court’s mandate to “fully fund education?” If so, why do we still need a levy?

Yes. The district does receive state funding. However, due to major cuts to student programs that have been occurring since 2008, this year’s increase in state funding does not begin to backfill the cuts that were made, nor does it yet fully fund our education programs that are critical to overall student success.

Aren’t we already paying a levy tax for schools?

Yes, but the current levy expires at the end of 2017. The levy on the ballot in February is not a new tax; it will replace the expiring levy.

Levy funds pay for a wide variety of school district needs.Where does the levy money go?

Levy funds help pay for some of the fundamental tools that build Woodland’s strong educational program. These items including enhanced career and technical programs that prepare students for the workforce, staffing to keep class sizes low, teaching supplies and materials, technology equipment and support, library and textbooks, transportation costs, athletics and extracurricular programs. Additionally, levies help cover the unfunded costs of increases in utilities, services, and transportation costs that are UNIQUE to our large, rural geographic area.

How do I calculate my household's tax amount?

Local levy and bond tax amounts are calculated using the assessed value of property. You can calculate your household's tax amount by multiplying the tax rate for the year by your home's assessed value as calculated by the state's tax assessor's office.

For example, if the tax rate for the year is $2.69 per $1,000 of assessed property value and your home's assessed property value is $75,000, you would calculate your tax rate as follows:

Divide your home's assssed value of $75,000 by $1,000 = 75

Multiply the tax rate of $2.69 x 75 = $201.75

Your individual tax amount in this example is $201.75 for the year.

You can look up your home's assessed value by referring to your most recent assessor's notice or by entering your home's street address on Clark County's GIS System Website or Cowlitz County's GIS System Website. After entering your address, the websites will provide you a report including your property's Assessment Data.

What is the difference between a "regular majority" and a "super majority?"

"Regular majority" and "super majority" are terms referring to the number of votes required to approve a measure. Regular majority measures require a total "yes" vote count of 50% plus 1 of the filed ballots for approval. Super majority measures require a total "yes" vote count of 60% plus 1 of the filed ballots for approval. Currently, the Washington State Legislature dictates that school levies require a regular majority (50% plus 1) to pass while school bonds require a super majority (60% plus 1). The Woodland Public Schools' 2017 levy requires a regular majority for approval.

What is the difference between a levy and a bond?

Levies and bonds are two different types of financial instruments. A levy provides school districts with funds during the year in which the funds are collected. For example, levy funds collected in 2017 will be used for the 2017-2018 school year budget. A bond is a type of loan spread out over many years where the entire loan amount is paid out in advance, similar to a car loan or a home mortgage.

Due to their structures, levies are used to pay for learning-related expenses such as programs, supplies and salaries while bonds are used for buildings to help fund construction costs by allowing the district to pay back the debt over time. An easy way to remember the difference is Levies are for Learning, Bonds are for Building.

What were the expiring levy's tax rates?

The tax rates for the expiring levy were as follows:

  • 2014: $2.57 per $1,000 of assessed property value
  • 2015: $2.76 per $1,000 of assessed property value
  • 2016: $2.62 per $1,000 of assessed property value

I have a question about the replacement levy, who should I contact?

You may direct questions about the levy to Eric Jacobson at jacobsoe@woodlandschools.org or 360.841.2700.

Tax ExemptionsDisabled persons or those 61 years of age and older may be eligible for a tax exemption. Applications are available at the Cowlitz County Assessor’s office at (360) 577-3010 or the Clark County Assessor’s office at (360) 397-2391.

 

WOODLAND'S TOP 10 LEVY FACTS

This is a replacement levy for the next three years: 2018, 2019, and 2020. The levy is not a new tax, but replaces the current levy that expires at the end of 2017. K Class

2 Levy dollars are used to pay for the following materials, programs, and services:

  • Classroom supplies, textbooks, and technology equipment
  • Staff training and professional development
  • Extracurricular activities such as clubs, band and athletics
  • Teachers, custodians, aids and other staff the state does not fully fund
  • Facilities repairs, maintenance of grounds and utilities
  • Student transportation, including new buses and fuel

Ballots will be mailed on or around January 27, 2017. They must be returned to a ballot drop-box or postmarked by February 14, 2017.

The School Board approved a levy amount that helps retain learning programs critical to overall student success. The levy amount being requested is 21% of the prior year’s state and federal revenue (district levy base), well below the 28% maximum that the district could collect upon voter approval.

Maintenance and operations levies differ from bond measures, which are used for building improvements or to construct new schools. The funds being used to build the new Woodland High School cannot be used for essential student learning programs, classroom support and day-to-day district operations. These are paid with local levy dollars. Levies provide funding needed to cover the student services that are not funded by state and federal dollars.

Over 50 percent of voters must vote “yes” in order to approve this levy.

7 Woodland Public Schools current levy rate per $1,000 of assessed property value, is among the lowest in the region. (See chart below). Projected levy rates for 2018 ($2.70), 2019 ($2.70) and 2020 ($2.69) remain among the lowest in the region.

 Tax Rate Comparison - Projected 2017

The Board authorized a three-year levy to replace the expiring two-year levy. While some districts are seeking four-year levies in February, the Woodland School Board believes a three-year measure is a more conservative approach for taxpayers, yet still provides the district some financial stability.

Passage of the Levy provides an additional support in state-funded Local Effort Assistance to Woodland Public Schools. This money from the state is used to partially equalize tax rates between property-rich and property-poor districts.

10 Local levies are important in order to maintain the overall pride and quality of the Woodland community. Homes and property investments are enhanced when schools are adequately funded and outstanding student learning opportunities are occurring.

Click here to download the Replacement Operations & Maintenance Levy Mailer!

 

Have a question about the levy?
Email Eric Jacobson at jacobsoe@woodlandschools.org