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Tahoma School District No. 409

Proposition No. 1
Replacement of Existing Educational Programs and Operations Levy

The Board of Directors adopted Resolution No. 2017-25 concerning educational funding. This proposition authorizes the District to levy the following excess taxes, to replace an expiring levy, on all taxable property within the District, to support the District’s educational programs and operations not funded by the state:


Collection 
Year

Estimated  
Levy Rate/$1,000
Assessed Value


Levy
Amount
2019 $1.50 $10,710,073
2020 $1.50 $11,823,067

2021

$1.50 $13,051,814

2022

$1.50 $14,408,350


all as provided in the Resolution. Should this proposition be approved?

Yes

No


Passage of Proposition No. 1 would replace an expiring levy and allow the levy of $10,710,073 in property taxes within Tahoma School District for collection in 2019, the levy of $11,823,067 for collection in 2020, the levy of $13,051,814 for collection in 2021, and the levy of $14,408,350 for collection in 2022.  In accordance with Resolution No. 2017-25 approving this proposition, these taxes would be deposited in the Tahoma School District’s General Fund to pay part of the general expenses of operating the District.  General expenses of the District include employee costs (such as salaries), instructional materials, special programs, activities and sports, technology systems operation, transportation costs, maintenance of facilities and other non-capital expenses of operating the District schools.  If authorized by the voters and based on projected assessed valuation information, the estimated levy rate per $1,000 of assessed value would be $1.50 for collection in the years 2019 through 2022, inclusive.  The exact levy rate shall be adjusted based upon the actual assessed value of the property within the District and the legal limit of the levy amount at the time of the levy.

Washington is making great strides toward funding basic education, but there is still a need to raise money locally to pay for staffing, programs and equipment not provided by the state. The Educational Programs and Operations Levy helps fill the gap between state funding and what Tahoma students need. We want all students to receive a Future Ready education that goes well beyond basic.

The levy is $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed value, half the current rate, thanks to improved state funding. It replaces a 2014 levy and helps pay for special education, security, nurses, classroom support staff, transportation staff, maintenance, and supplies. The levy also pays teachers for work they do beyond the 180 school days paid by the state.

State money is important, but has many strings attached. Without the levy, Tahoma loses much of its flexibility in how dollars can be spent to educate and support students. Our teachers, administrators and School Board know our students best. Levy funds can be applied where the need is greatest.

The levy is endorsed by teachers, Maple Valley-Black Diamond Chamber of Commerce and Fifth District legislators. Parents and community members, our kids need you: Please vote Yes by Feb. 13!

In 2017 the legislature approved a massive overhaul on basic education, including a $7.3B increase in funding for K-12 education over the next four years.  Consequently, the state is now responsible for fully funding basic education.  The impact of this overhaul on the district is not yet fully understood, but we know (i) teacher salaries will increase from state funding and (ii) the law prohibits the district from using local levy funds for basic education, including teacher salaries.  Until the impact is fully understood, we should not approve the levy.

Moreover, rather than doing a bottoms-up assessment of its needs, the district merely set the levy at the full amount allowed under the new legislation with little transparency in the process.  A greater degree of transparency and rigor in the budgeting process should be required of the district before we give more of our hard-earned money.

And, with a significant property tax increase from the state combined with maximum increases from other taxing districts, now is not the time for this levy or the other proposed levies. If necessary, the district has reserves that it could tap, which amounted to $15M at the beginning of the school year.

New state funding is a good start, but there are still gaps. The levy ensures Tahoma keeps the programs and staff students need. The proposed levy is half of what it is now and our 5th District legislators publicly endorse it. District reserves are being spent for planned transition costs connected to opening the new high school and serve as a fiscally responsible emergency fund. The budget process is public and transparent. Please vote yes!

Submitted by: Angela Stewart, Katrina Montgomery, Sarah Gilbert www.voteyestahoma.com

While the needs cited are noble, the district lacks specifics. With little effort, the district merely set the levy at the maximum amount in order to have flexibility.  I do not doubt the good intentions of the district, but administrators and elected officials need to be held to a greater level of scrutiny.

The pro statement says that teachers, administrators, and the School Board know their students best.  I vehemently disagree; parents know them best.

Submitted by: Fletcher Barkdull fletcherbarkdull@gmail.com

Simple majority (Wash. Const. art. VII, sec. 2(a))

For questions about this measure, contact: Kevin Patterson, Director of Public Relations 425-413-3400, kpatters@tahomasd.us

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