Over the next month, the district will hold a series of community information nights, both in-person and remote, to provide opportunities for citizens to learn more about how levy dollars are spent
Battle Ground Public Schools is running a replacement Educational Programs and Operations (EP&O) levy on the Nov. 2 general election ballot. An existing levy, passed in 2017, is set to expire at the end of this year. The replacement levy would continue funding at a lower rate to taxpayers, according to information provided by the district.
Over the next month, the district will hold a series of community information nights, both in-person and remote, to provide opportunities for citizens to learn more about how levy dollars are spent, and to ask any questions they might have.
Two in-person meetings will be held. The first will be at Prairie High School on Tue., Sept. 28 at 6 p.m., and the second at Yacolt Primary School on Tue., Oct. 12, also at 6 p.m. A remote forum will be held via Zoom at 6 p.m. on Wed., Oct. 6.
“These meetings are critical, giving us a chance to explain how levy dollars impact the success of our students and an opportunity for us to respond to the community’s questions,” said Superintendent Denny Waters. “My top goal remains working better together with the people in our district. We’re hopeful they will use these forums as an opportunity to engage with us about a very important election that could have a major impact on the future of our children.”
The district’s Board of Directors voted unanimously in July to put a replacement levy on the Nov. 2 ballot after a previous attempt failed to pass in February. The levy in front of voters in November has a projected tax rate of $1.99 per $1,000 of assessed value for all four years and would collect less in 2022 and 2023 than the expiring levy did in 2021.
The expiring levy accounted for around 14 percent of the district’s budget in 2020-21, or nearly $30 million. Levy funding provides for programs and staffing beyond what the state’s basic education model pays for. For instance, the state pays for less than two nurses in a district with 18 schools. These health professionals are key to student well-being and providing a safe learning environment.
Levy funding also provides technology for students, music and arts programs, athletics and after-school activities, advanced placement courses, textbooks and materials, transportation and crossing guards, elective classes, teaching assistants, building maintenance and operations, and much more. In all, the levy helps to pay for 260 additional staff members with the goal of reducing class sizes and supporting student engagement.
Doing more with less
Battle Ground Public Schools already offers the lowest total school tax rate of any district in Clark County. That rate would fall further in 2022 if the replacement levy passes, going from $2.32 per $1,000 of assessed value this year, to $1.99 per $1,000 in 2022. The owner of a home worth $450,000 would pay an estimated $123 less in local school taxes next year.
In 2021, the overall local tax rate for Battle Ground was $2.88, including a building bond set to expire at the end of 2023. That rate is more than a dollar less than Evergreen Public Schools, and nearly two dollars below Camas School District.
For more information on the replacement levy, visit https://battlegroundps.org/levy
If you are not currently registered to vote, you can do so online up to eight days before Nov. 2, and in person at the Clark County elections office until 8 p.m. on election day. Anyone who will be 18 on or before election day is eligible to register.
Information provided by Battle Ground School District.