SCHOOL FUNDING QUESTIONS
WHY ARE SCHOOL LEVIES NECESSARY?
HOW OFTEN DO SCHOOL DISTRICTS ASK VOTERS TO APPROVE LEVIES?
School levies make up the difference between the actual cost of educating students in safe, secure, well-maintained schools and what Washington state pays for that cost. In Snohomish, the two local levy funds pay about 16 cents of every dollar needed for our communities’ children to have full and rich learning experiences in neighborhood schools.
The 2022 EP&O REPLACEMENT levy enriches and/or underpins special education, vocational programs and help for excelling and struggling students. It pays for ACT tests. It pays for more than 56 highly-qualified educators and school staff and helps the district attract and retain people dedicated to student learning – the “people power” necessary to prepare students to be learned, responsible, contributing citizens of the future.
The state pays for fewer than TWO nurses for 15 schools in the district. The EP&O pays for 11 more. The state pays for fewer than TWO school security staff; the EP&O pays for SROs and other security measures.
The state pays for NO activities happening after school or in the summer. The EP&O helps students connect to each other, their schools and the community through athletics, performing arts, clubs and other after-school activities for stronger mental health and academic success.
The 2022 REPLACEMENT TECHNOLOGY, SAFETY and FACILITIES LEVY maintains schools and support facilities. This includes replacing roofs and siding, upgrading heating and ventilation systems. The 2020 bond failure stalled many roofing, HVAC and other repairs, upgrades and replacements. The longer those critical maintenance projects and upgrades are delayed, the more costly they become. Schools must be maintained timely and routinely, just as homes and businesses must be. The state does not cover all of these local maintenance costs.
This levy improves school safety. In our changed world, keeping students, staff and visitors safe is increasingly important. It includes buying and upgrading security cameras. It improves school parking lots and “drop off” and “pick up” access, elementary school playgrounds, and portable classrooms.
This levy continues access to educational technology. We all learned during the pandemic the importance of technology and equitable access to equipment and the internet. This levy continues providing local levy dollars for educational technology and access for students – what they need to be successful in school and to gain skills for their successful futures.
Both 2022 levies were four-year REPLACEMENT levies. School districts can ask for levies to last two to six years. It helps districts make long term plans for student learning if long-term funding is available.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN THESE ARE REPLACEMENT LEVIES?
In 2018 voters approved similar school levies which expired at the end of 2022. To ensure quality educational programs for students in safe and well maintained schools, the district asked district registered voters to once again approve the expiring levies – to “replace” them. Voters said "yes" to both levies in 2022. Levies approved in Feb 2022 will expire at the end of 2026.
What's more, in the case of the 2022 levies, property owners are paying a reduced rate. The combined local school tax rate for 2022's two replacement levies AND the costs of paying off old bonds is lower than property owners have seen since 2018.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION BOND AND A SCHOOL LEVY?
Here’s a video that helps explain the difference.
QUESTIONS ABOUT VOTING
WHO CAN VOTE IN A DISTRICT ELECTION?
HOW DO I REGISTER TO VOTE? HOW CAN I CAST MY BALLOT?
Registered voters who live within the boundaries of Snohomish School District.
The county mails a ballot to every registered voter about 20 days before each election. For full details about ballot timing and voter registration visit the Snohomish County website.