The Olympia School Board has unanimously agreed to place an Educational Programs and Operations Replacement Levy proposal before voters on the February 11, 2020 Special Election ballot.
The proposed levy is not a new tax. The measure on the February 2020 ballot would replace an expiring four-year educational programs levy approved by voters in February 2016.
School levies are the only locally approved ballot measures that directly pay for classroom and educational needs of students not funded by the state.
Levy funds would be used to continue to provide education to students with disabilities and provide classroom and districtwide support staff not funded through state basic education such as paraeducators, school nurses, social and mental health supports and security staff. Funds would also support middle and high school athletic and extracurricular activities, transportation outside of the basic school day, preschool programs for students with special needs, visual and performing arts programs, staff professional development, and maintenance and operations not funded through state basic education.
“This renewal levy continues the district’s efforts, as outlined in our Strategic Plan, to prepare students for success now and into the future,” said School Board President Joellen Wilhelm. It creates opportunities for our students to build knowledge and skills to meet their individual goals.”
The levy would raise an estimated $133.6 million over four years (2021-24), or an average of $33.4 million per year. The proposed $2.50 maximum tax rate for the Educational Programs and Operations Replacement Levy in each of the upcoming four years is one cent more than in 2020.
The estimated levy rate depends on the final dollar amount of assessed value of property within the school district. State law limits school districts to collect a maximum of $2.50 per $1,000 of assessed valuation for Educational Programs and Operations levies; the rate may be lower than $2.50 per $1,000 of assessed valuation but it cannot be more than $2.50.
Using the projected rate of $2.50 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, the owner of a $250,000 home would pay about $52 a month, or $625 per year, for the replacement levy.
The proposed replacement levy tax, combined with the Olympia School District voter-approved school construction bonds and the technology and safety levy, would keep overall tax rates below 2020 levels. The total projected tax rate over the four years would be between $4.84 and $5.05 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, which is less than the $5.15 tax rate in 2020.
For more specifics on the replacement levy proposal, including a list of frequently asked questions, visit the Levy 2020 webpage on the Olympia School District website.