Woodland Public Schools to seek Replacement Operations and Maintenance Levy in February 2017Previous Next
The existing three-year Operations and Maintenance Levy for Woodland Public Schools expires next year. In order to maintain existing high-quality school services and educational programs, the district will need a replacement levy to supply the funds necessary to continue current operations.
Levy funds provide Woodland Public Schools with 16.7% of the funds needed for day-to-day operations.
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.
First, let's define the term "levy." A levy is a request by a school district of voters to continue to collect property taxes for a limited number of years to fund operations costs. Although there are different types of levies, the most common is referred to as an Operations and Maintenance Levy or Maintenance and Operations Levy (often called an M&O levy).
Operations and Maintenance Levies bridge the gap between state and federal funding and what it actually costs to operate schools. The Woodland Public Schools current three-year Operations and Maintenance Levy expires in 2017 and provides 16.7% of the funds needed to operate the Woodland Public Schools.
Levy funds pay for additional teachers, textbooks, classroom supplies, student activities, and professional development for teachers.
Levy funds support basic day-to-day operations including the cost of additional teachers, instructional assistants, and other staff; textbooks and classroom supplies; bilingual and special education services; student activities such as athletics, drama and music; and professional development and training for teachers.
Washington school districts receive funding from the state and federal government. In Woodland, state and Federal funds pay for only about 75% of the total education costs in Woodland. Other non-tax sources contribute to the district's revenue with local levy dollars providing 16.7% of the district's annual budget.The local levy dollars help bridge the gap between what the state pays and the actual costs of operating our schools so the district can provide the quality educational experience currently offered to the community's students.
Although the McCleary Decision ruled that Washington State is legally obligated to fully fund education, the state only funds around 75% of school district budgets.
Recently, the state Supreme Court ruled that Washington State is legally obligated by its constitution to fully fund education with the "McCleary Decision." Although the Supreme Court retains the power to uphold and enforce the constitutional mandate for "ample funding," the court cannot pass bills which create taxes, and the state legislature has yet to enact the necessary changes to fully fund schools. In addition, major cuts to school funding that occurred during the recession have not yet been fully replaced. The State does not fully fund the education programs critical to overall student success in Woodland.
Woodland Public Schools will seek a replacement three-year Operations and Maintenance Levy on the ballot in February 2017 which will raise $4,500,000 in funding for collection in 2018; $4,750,000 in 2019; and $5,000,000 in 2020. The district forecasts the total school tax rate for Woodland in 2017 at $2.70 per thousand dollars of assessed property valuation for collection in 2018. As shown in the accompanying chart below, Woodland Public Schools will continue to remain among the lowest tax rates of Clark and Cowlitz County school districts.
2018 Levy Rate Comparison: Woodland Public Schools will continue to remain among the lowest tax rates of Clark and Cowlitz County school districts.
"We plan to maintain Woodland Public Schools' reputation for providing an excellent education for our students while maintaining strict fiscal responsibility," said Superintendent Michael Green. "We have a tradition of success and our community recognizes the high quality of education taking place in the communities served by Woodland Public Schools."
Community members interested in learning more about the Replacement Operations and Maintenance Levy can visit the district’s website at www.woodlandschools.org/levy where they can receive additional information and ask questions not answered here.
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