San Juan Island School District and Lopez Island School districts are both asking for maintenance and operation levies. If approved, the levies would replace the ones that are set to expire at the end of 2014.
School districts receive funding from the state through property tax and locally from property tax.
In order to keep suppplement that money, it is routine for school districts to ask voters for a separate tax levy to be used for maintenance and operation of the schools.
Lopez School District Superintendent Bill Evans says, "The levy supports approximately one quarter of the district’s operating costs for educating the students of our community."
He sent in the following facts:
Tax amount and rate:
The owner of a $400,000 home would see an annual increase of approximately $24 in 2015, over 2014 costs.
The Lopez M&O levy pays for:
classroom materials, etc
Farm-to-School and food service
other school costs.
Evans says, "The Replacement Levy funds will not go toward expenses such as the Lopez School proposed in a bond measure last Spring. These levy funds are for supporting the academic and day-to-day operations of the school."
SAN JUAN ISLAND
On San Juan Island the M&O levy is just under 20 percent of the district's costs. These M&O levy funds comprise just under 20 percent of the District’s $8.7 million annual general fund operating budget.
"Basic Education Funding” provided by the State of Washington is not sufficient to fully fund our District’s programs. Renewal of this levy sustains the continuing excellence of our instructional and co-curricular programs through funding," according to the San Juan Island School Superintendent Rick Thomspon.
The San Juan Island School District's levy funds:
Additional teaching positions necessary to ensure reasonable class sizes and comprehensive student schedules
More than state-provided staffing for:
Programs such as Advanced Placement, enrichment and community-based courses
Full service bus routes
The amount of tax revenue being asked for is:
For a $400,000 property the increases work out compared to 2014 are: $16 in both 2015 and 2016; $22 in 2017 and $25 in 2017. Again each of those figures are compared to 2014.
It takes a simple majority to pass the levies. It used to take a 60 percent super majority and a certain number of people voting. The legislature changed those requirements in 2008.
Ballots are due at the Post Office by 3 p.m. on Tuesday, February 11 or deposited in ballot boxes by 8 p.m.
On Lopez Island the ballot box is located by the Lopez Fire Station. For more information call the Lopez School District office at 468.2202.
On San Juan Island ballot boxes are located in front of the sheriff's office on Second Street and across the street in the county Elections office. The San Juan School District office phone number is 378.4133.
Elections phone number is 378.3357.