What is a levy?
A levy is for learning. It is an amount approved by voters that is collected through a property tax charged at a rate per $1,000 of assessed valuation to each property owner (residential and commercial) within the school district's boundary. School districts may run a levy for a maximum of four years. The levy requires a simple majority (50% + 1) to pass and must meet validation requirements.
Why does the district need a Renewal Educational Programs and Operations Levy?
The levy makes up the difference between the state and federal funding the district receives and what it costs to educate Northshore students. The levy helps provide funding for basic education not fully funded by the state or federal governments such as smaller class sizes, academic support for high achieving students, academic support and interventions for struggling learners, Special Education and transportation. It also funds curriculum, school resource officers for increased safety, and extra-curricular activities such as music, drama, sports and clubs.
Why are local levies needed?
School funding is a work in progress. In July, state legislators increased state property taxes with the intent of lowering local school taxes – not eliminating local school taxes. It’s a good concept and step in the right direction, but it’s far from perfect.
The funding formulas in the new law create uneven gaps in how much different districts can ask voters to approve. This means some of our neighboring districts with fewer students can ask voters for more money per student. Northshore loses in this new formula. The formula is not an equitable solution for all students and districts in the state, and it does not help Northshore students. Also, the state money must be spent in very specific ways. These restrictions on state funding eliminate much of our local control for programs our community wants in our schools.
What does it take to pass a levy?
A levy needs a simple majority to pass, which is a minimum of 50% plus one vote of the total votes cast.
Why are there two levies on the ballot?
Proposition 1: Renewal Educational Programs & Operations Levy covers essential functions and basic education costs. This levy is a renewal of the existing levy expiring in 2018. It makes up 20 percent of the district budget. Special education, transportation, intervention programs, support for advanced learners, and extra-curricular activities are all funded by this measure. This levy is brought before voters every four years.
Proposition 3: Renewal Technology Levy only covers the costs related to the district goal to provide access to technology for every student as needed. Besides the cost of devices, this levy provides important supports, like teacher training, allowing us to not only arm our students with technology, but also teach them the importance of tech safety. This levy will allow us to create responsible digital citizens who are ready to compete in our tech-based local economy. The tech renewal levy also includes improved communications between the district and families.
Both levies renew existing levies and are not new taxes.
Will the Tech Levy provide a device for every student?
The Tech Levy will continue the district goal of equity in access to technology. The levy will provide enough funding for 1:1 access to computers/tablets for all grades, which might look like K-5 graders accessing a cart of devices in their classroom and 6-12 graders assigned a device to take to classes. The specifics will rely on parent engagement to develop a strategy and implementation plan. The Tech Levy will also provide for:
- Assistance for families unable to afford internet access at home
- Professional development and support for teachers to fully integrate technology into their instruction
- Assistive technology for students with special needs
- Continued student training for online safety, including digital citizenship
- Technology to improve district communications to families