Proposition No. 1: Replacement of Expiring Educational Programs and Operation Levy
The school district’s levy renewal proposition will be on the February 13 ballot. This is a replacement of the levy approved in 2014. Every four years our district proposes this “Educational Programs and Operations Levy” to the voters. The levy represents nearly 20% of a total operating budget or, for 2018, $4,283,536 of a total operating budget of $21,516,595.
Our Washington State Legislature is currently in session discussing the State Supreme Court’s November ruling directing the Legislature to “fully fund” public education by the Court’s McCleary decision deadline this fall 2018. In the last few hours of the 2017 legislative session, SHB 2242 was passed to meet the Court’s mandate. However, though additional state funding was raised through property taxes, the legislation fell short of meeting the Court’s requirement and leaves our district extremely dependent upon local levy support in order to pay for:
- the training and professional development of our faculty and staff
- paraprofessionals, school secretaries, and counseling support
- extracurricular programs, sports, and field trips
- keeping schools and grounds safe, functional and clean
- qualified substitute teachers
- arts and music programs, AP courses, and enrichment programs all of which are important community priorities; and
- the actual costs of meeting special education students’ educational needs mandated by state and federal law.
Washington’s new funding model is a “work in progress.” It was intended to comply with the state constitution and lower local school taxes by increasing state property taxes. While it is a step in the right direction, all districts, including VISD, remain dependent upon local levies in order to meet current program delivery.