After speaking with members of the community, district administrators and board members believe there was confusion in the community with what the replacement levy is
WOODLAND — In a regular board meeting on Monday (Feb. 24), Woodland Public Schools’ Board of Directors approved a resolution to run a three-year Replacement Educational Programs and Operations (EP&O) Levy to replace the district’s current levy which expires this year in a special election on Tue., April 28 after voters did not approve the replacement levy during the Feb. 11 special election.
After speaking with members of the community, district administrators and board members believe there was confusion in the community with what the replacement levy is, identifying four key facts about the replacement levy that community members needed to know:
The replacement levy is not a new tax, according to district officials. The board of directors approved a levy to replace the existing levy that expires in 2020 with a three-year levy at the same tax rate voters are currently paying:
• This year (2020): $2.37 per $1,000 of assessed property value.
• Next year (2021): $2.37 per $1,000 of assessed property value
• 2022: $2.36 per $1,000 of assessed property value
• 2023: $2.36 per $1,000 of assessed property value
Woodland School District officials stress that the replacement levy does not increase the levy rate. The levy rate for 2021 is the same as this year’s and is estimated to decrease to $2.36 in 2022 and 2023. This year (2020), a homeowner whose house is valued at $250,000 will pay $592.50 for Woodland’s local levy ($2.37 x 250 = $592.50). In 2021, the local levy tax will remain the same for the owner of a home valued at $250,000: $592.50.
Levies are not bonds. Levies pay for educational programs and services. Bonds pay for new buildings. Woodland’s replacement levy fills the gap between what the Washington state legislature funds and what local schools actually need to provide high-quality educational programs.
Without a replacement levy for its expiring levy, Woodland Public Schools MUST cut $3,000,000 in educational programs and services for the upcoming 2020-2021 school year. Nearly every school district in Washington State needs a locally-funded levy to provide the additional services schools need to provide high-quality educational opportunities for children.
In Woodland, the following educational programs are funded by local levy dollars and may be reduced in size or eliminated entirely without a replacement levy:
• Arts, Music, Athletics, and Extracurricular Clubs
• Career Center at Woodland High School
• Class Size Reduction Programs, particularly at Woodland Middle School and Woodland High School
• Current Technology
• Current Textbooks and Curriculum
• Curriculum Introductions & Updates
• Custodians, Maintenance and Grounds Staff
• Elementary Counselors / Social Workers
• Family Community Resource Center
• Paraprofessionals who support quality teaching in the classroom
• PASS – Woodland High School Program to Reduce Dropout Rate and Improve Student Success
• School Bus Transportation
• School Secretaries
• Special Education Programs
• Specialized & Advanced Placement (AP) Courses
• Student Behavior & Discipline Support Staff
• Summer School Credit Recovery at Woodland High School
• Support Systems which help students come to school ready to learn
• Teacher and Staff Training
• Teaching Improvement Specialists
Although the state increased the maximum amount school districts can collect from local levies to $2.50 per $1,000 of assessed value, Woodland Public Schools’ Board of Directors elected not to collect the maximum amount, opting instead to collect $2.37 in 2021, $2.36 in 2022, and $2.36 in 2023. “As taxpayers ourselves, the board strives to maintain fiscal responsibility and be good stewards of our community’s funds by only collecting what our schools absolutely need,” explained Board President Janice Watts.
Washington State’s legislature continues to underfund most school districts. “Local communities must take on the role of supplying the funding their schools need for high-quality educational programs through local levies,” explained Watts. “Without community support, we will have no choice but to take dire and draconian measures, cutting the budgets of our local schools dramatically to the point where our community’s children will have access to the barest minimum in educational opportunities.”
The special election for Woodland Public Schools’ replacement levy is April 28 with ballots scheduled to be mailed to voters on April 10.
Community members can register to vote online anytime up until April 20 at: https://voter.votewa.gov/WhereToVote.aspx
For more information about Woodland Public Schools’ replacement levy, visit the district’s website at: https://www.woodlandschools.org/levy-2020 or call the district office at (360) 841-2700.
Information provided by Woodland School District.