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Tahoma School District No. 409

Proposition No. 2
Replacement of Existing Capital Projects Levies

The Board of Directors approved Resolution No. 2017-26 for educational facilities and technology levies. This proposition authorizes the improvement and upgrade of District facilities; including educational technology, software and training; building and site improvements; and authorizes the following excess levies for such purposes on all taxable property within the District:


Collection 
Year

Estimated  
Levy Rate/$1,000
Assessed Value


Levy
Amount
2019 $0.39 $2,750,000
2020 $0.35 $2,750,000

2021

$0.32 $2,750,000

2022

$0.29 $2,750,000


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

Yes

No


Passage of Proposition No. 2 would replace an expiring levy and allow the levy of $2,750,000 in property taxes within Tahoma School District No. 409 for collection each year in the years 2019 through 2022, inclusive, to fund construction, renovation, improvement and expansion of new and existing facilities, to make improvements to technology equipment and training, and modernize educational facilities, including but not limited to enhancing infrastructure, acquiring hardware, licensing software, and implementing online applications and training related to the installation of the foregoing as an integral part of the District’s technology systems, facilities, or projects; and the application and modernization of technology systems for operations and instruction including, but not limited to, the ongoing fees for online applications, subscriptions, or software licenses, including upgrades and incidental services, and ongoing training related to the installation and integration of these products or services, and other capital project expenditures as approved by the Board of Directors.  These taxes would be collected in the 2018-2019 through 2021-2022 school years, inclusive, and deposited in the District’s Capital Projects Fund for such improvements to meet the current and future educational programs for its students.  If authorized by the voters, and based on projected assessed valuation information, estimated levy rates per $1,000 of assessed value would be $0.39 (2019 collection), $0.35 (2020 collection), $0.32 (2021 collection) and $0.29 (2022 collection).  The exact levy rate shall be adjusted based upon the actual assessed value of the property within the District at the time of the levy.

It’s hard to imagine a world without computers: no smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops, or internet. Now, imagine living in the real world but not having access to those things. That’s why we need to renew the Tahoma technology levy. The levy pays for computers, software, network equipment, and people to provide support and training to about 9,000 students and staff. The proposed levy is the same amount as the one that it would replace. Our community has supported technology levies consistently for more than a decade, and this levy is endorsed by teachers and the Maple Valley-Black Diamond Chamber of Commerce.

The recent change in how the state will fund schools provides about one-quarter of what is needed for classroom technology. Without local levy dollars, there is not enough money to maintain technology students now receive.

Tahoma publishes a technology plan each year. A citizen advisory committee reviews spending and programs connected to the technology levy. All classroom technology is tied to the district’s curriculum so that computers and software complement student learning.

Tahoma is committed to helping students become Future Ready. The technology levy helps students succeed. Please support Tahoma students by voting Yes by Feb. 13.

In 2017, the district completed two brand new state of the art schools and upgrades at other schools, paid for by a construction bond (which will take many years for taxpayers to pay off via property taxes).  With $19M in capital funds remaining as of June 2017 and reserves of $15M as the school year began, I question whether the district really needs $11M more from taxpayers for the “upgrade of District facilities” or “building and site improvements.”

Additionally, with the numerous technology companies in the area, do we really need $11M for “education technology, software, and training”?  Even with these companies in our backyard, public records indicate the district has previously sent IT employees to places such as Sweden.

As a parent, I want teachers to have the resources needed to do their jobs most effectively.  However, before voters agree to provide more funds for technology, voters should insist that the district (i) demonstrates it is fully leveraging the resources available in the surrounding area and (ii) details the specific needs and the intended uses for the funds.  

Without further justification, now is not the time to increase our already significant tax burden.

The Technology Levy buys classroom computers, network equipment and software, and provides support staff. It does not pay for buildings. As planned, current reserves are being spent for transition costs. Representatives of technology companies support us on our district oversight committee and make recommendations for our levy needs. A public, detailed technology plan guides how money is spent and resources are allocated. Local dollars provide more than 70% of classroom technology. Please vote yes!

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

As a parent, I have seen the benefits of technology our community has supported. However, just doing what has always been done for the same amount is not the right approach.  It lacks discipline and accountability.  Prior to approving the levy, specific needs should be identified and costs should be justified.  Are there cost saving opportunities?  Again, we need to hold decision makers to a higher level of scrutiny and insist on greater accountability.

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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