Three year measures replace EP&O Levy and Capital Levy expiring in 2023
Members of the Washougal School District School Board voted unanimously on Nov. 22 to place replacement Educational Programs & Operations (EP&O) and Capital levies on the Feb. 14 special election ballot. If approved by voters, the EP&O and Capital levies would provide funding for three years: 2024, 2025, and 2026. Each levy replaces a three year levy that expires on December 31, 2023. These are not new taxes.
The EP&O and Capital levies work in tandem, keeping students safe, warm, and connected according to Washougal School District officials. Board President Cory Chase said, “With the proposed levy rates, we will have a lower rate than what voters approved in 2020. The board was intentional in not asking for more than is needed to support students. The levies fund the programs and services beyond what the state funds that help every student feel welcome and included in our district. Our athletics and technology programs have specifically benefited from our past levies.”
At a rate of $1.99, the proposed EP&O levy rate is lower than the $2.14 rate last approved by voters in 2020. These local levy dollars account for 14 percent of Washougal School District’s overall budget. Board member Sadie McKenzie said “With this levy, our students benefit not only from the basics of reading, writing and math but they also benefit from athletics, visual and performing arts, after school clubs and activities, librarians, and counselors. I hope our voters will consider the importance of the levy, which benefits all students in our district, as they cast their ballots.”
The levy also provides funding for teachers to reduce class sizes, and for security staff, custodians, nurses, paraeducators, and substitute teachers who support all students.
WSD Superintendent Dr. Mary Templeton said, “Local levy dollars fund the staffing and programs our community expects for students, and keep our schools in great shape. Levy supported activities engage students, connecting them with caring adults to build job-readiness skills and contribute to their community. These programs help ensure that every Washougal student is known, nurtured, and challenged to rise.”
The Capital Levy, if approved by voters, would fund safety, facility, and technology improvements. This includes replacing the roof at Washougal High School, security door and access control updates, heating system replacements, instructional technology resources, and more.
Templeton added that, “Voter support for the levies will make sure our students are kept safe, warm, and connected as they prepare for their bright futures.” As the 2015 bond tax rate approved by voters decreases from 2024 to 2026, the Capital Levy rate increases by an equal amount to fund these additional security and facility improvements. The result is a consistent overall school tax rate across all three years.
Director of Business and Operations Kris Grindy shared, “The district’s voter approved 2015 bond included a step-down that begins in 2025. In order to keep tax rates stable and consistent, the proposed capital levy would use the step down in the bond payments to raise additional funds without a big year-to-year change in people’s property taxes.”
For the EP&O levy, the district is requesting authorization for $9,500,000 for collection in 2024, $10,500,000 for collection in 2025, and $11,500,000 for collection in 2026.
For the Capital Projects levy, the district is requesting authorization for $950,000 for collection in 2024, $3,950,000 for collection in 2025, and $4,150,000 for collection in 2026.
More information is available on the Washougal School District website.
Information provided by the Washougal School District.
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