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School levies on Feb. 11 ballot

  • Written by Riverview School District

vvLevy ArtworkTwo Riverview School District replacement levies will be on the Feb. 11 ballot.

Proposition #1 is a Four-Year Replacement Educational Programs Maintenance and Operations Levy.

This Educational Programs Maintenance & Operations Levy replaces the current levy which expires in 2014. The four-year replacement levy would provide $8,100,000 in 2015, $8,400,000 in 2016, $8,900,000 in 2017 and $9,000,000 in 2018.

These funds would bridge the approximate 23 percent gap between what the state allocates for basic education and what Riverview provides beyond that basic allocation, such as: additional classroom teachers, special education services, librarians, music specialists, PE specialists, counselors, gifted/remediation prog. educational assistants, extracurricular activities, textbooks/library books, summer school, coaches/advisors, student transportation costs, food service staff, custodial/maint. costs, staff training and after-school programs.

Proposition #2 is a Four-Year Replacement Technology Capital Projects Levy.

The four-year Replacement Technology Levy would provide $1,850,000 for collection in each year of 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018.

Technology plays an essential role in classrooms, as well as in business and support staff practices. The state of Washington does not currently provide any direct funding for technology purchases.

The four-year replacement Technology Capital Projects Levy would enhance the educational environment by providing the following: student mobile devices, student learning software, labs — existing and new, LRC computer replacements, student assessment computers, teacher mobile devices, staff computer replacements, printers, CTE program equip/software, copiers, CHS projection system, CHS network/power upgrades, ERMA & SW Intercom, community notification software, transp. large format printer, TMS robotics program, file servers, improved wireless access, instructional specialists, continued staff training and network support technicians.

Funding for critical repairs has been included in the Technology Capital Projects Levy to cover maintenance of heating and cooling systems, additional portable classroom space, safety and security upgrades, infrastructure issues, equaling 13.5 percent of the total levy.

School districts are funded from three main sources: The state, the federal government, and local levies and bonds. Washington state is beginning to redefine its funding for school districts; however, many basic needs, such as textbooks and technology to help students learn, are not fully funded. Nearly all of the state’s 295 school districts must ask local communities to cover over 20 percent of their basic needs by approving local levies. These levies support instruction, smaller class sizes, specialists, coaches, safety and health, and technology to increase student learning.

Levies are intended to cover on-going costs for the district. By asking the taxpayers to approve a levy, the district is stating that the funding from its other sources (state and federal funding) does not cover the cost of offering the quality of education that it wants to provide the community. It is asking the taxpayers to kick in additional funds to fill the gap. The state limits the term of these levies to four years. This means the district will have to ask voters infrequently in order to retain the same level of spending and standard of education.

School districts do not receive more money as property values increase. Levies are based on a fixed dollar amount, not a percentage of assessed property value. When voters approve a levy, they authorize the school district to collect a fixed dollar amount. So, as property values increase and more people share in paying that fixed amount, the combined local tax rate for schools stays about the same or often decreases. If property values decrease, then the opposite happens because of the fixed dollar amount to be collected.

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A Riverview School District elementary student cheerfully shows off his artwork.

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