Just this week, voters received a special election ballot in their mailboxes. The resolutions on these ballots all address school district levies. Sixteen school districts in our area are proposing either renewals for existing levies or adding a new levy. School districts are sensitive to the home owners in their communities and truly to strive to provide a cost effective levy that will meet the needs of everyone. Due to Washington State’s Levy Equalization Fund, districts in lower income areas have an opportunity to receive more state funds to help make up differences in levy allocations. The catch is that those school districts must first have an approved levy tax to access the equalization funds.
Deer Park School District is proposing a renewal of their current levy. Voters should note the difference between a “renewal” and “new” levy. Renewal levies generally do not change the tax rate that property owners currently pay. Renewals only extend the amount of time that school districts can collect the tax. In the Deer Park School District, the current levy rate is $2.41 per thousand in assessed property value. The new levy will decrease that rate to $1.50. That is great news for property owners in the Deer Park area! This new levy will fund up to $2 million dollars for enhancement programs in the Deer Park School District. Not only is the school able to continue to provide exemplary learning opportunities for their students, they can also continue to provide community events such as sporting competitions, drama, and musical performances.
Riverside School District is proposing two levies, that will also lower the overall tax for property owners in their district. The first is a renewal of their current levy, and the second will be an additional levy to help bolster security and technology in their classrooms. The Riverside replacement levy is getting lowered from the $2.90 in previous years, to $1.50 per thousand in assessed property value. While their second levy, which is a new proposal, will only add an additional $0.80. That is an overall tax of only $2.30 per one thousand. This new levy will greatly improve the technology and safety for the next generation of leaders in the Riverside School District.
Levies are one way that local property owners can help support their local school districts directly. Schools use their monies for a variety of resources that the state funding does not help to cover, such as: sports and music programs, college-in-the-classroom, technology updates and repairs, security updates, and building maintenance issues. No one likes the idea of new taxes, but everyone likes well educated youth. Please sincerely consider the long lasting impact that these levy dollars will have on so many lives in our communities. Have you been to a local high school football game or track meet or weightlifting competition? Have you seen our local drama or dance performances? We might live in rural communities, but we are surrounded by talented personalities that would not have access to these opportunities if we did not band together and support our local schools.