SWSD replacement levy to be on February ballot
The Sedro-Woolley School Board approved a resolution on Nov. 8 asking voters to maintain the Education Programs & Operations (EP&O) Levy.
Local school levies must be renewed by voters. The current levy, which expires in 2022, collected $2.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value. The district expects to collect approximately $11,259,099 in 2022, which is lower than the voter approved cap of $13,667,841.
The proposed levy will collect $11,919,069 in 2023, $12,515,023 in 2024, $13,140,774 in 2025 and $13,797,813 in 2026. These are the capped amounts or lids based on a 5% growth projection per year of the community’s assessed value.
Even though the district has a $2.50 rate, it won’t be able to collect more than the capped amounts approved in the board’s resolution. If the community’s assessed value increases, the $2.50 rate would actually be substantially less.
Washington state funds schools based on a “prototypical model”, representing the Legislature’s assumptions of what resources are required to provide students with a basic education.
State funding typically falls short in covering costs to enhance local schools with services requested by the community, leaving EP&O levies to bridge the gap in funding to provide for additional expenditures.
Basic education funding from the state doesn’t pay for additional costs of special education; school nurses, counselors and librarian; arts and music, school safety officers and safety support personnel; Highly Capable programs; special interventions for students who need additional help; basic office supplies such as paper and ink; student transportation for field trips, athletic travel and special programs transportation; and athletic and after-school extracurricular funding for coaches and advisors salaries that aren’t covered by the state or ASB funds.
Washington State law provides two tax benefit programs for senior citizens and individuals who are disabled: property tax exemptions and property tax deferrals. For more information on qualifications, contact the Skagit County Assessor’s Office at 360-416-1780.
School nurses more essential than ever before
The state funds less than one full-time nurse for the district, with local levy funding the remaining positions.
Federal funds helps carry district through COVID
ESSER funding is one-time money provided by the federal government to help tide districts over until the pandemic ends and school districts can overcome losses in revenue from state funding due to lower enrollment.
District refinances CMS bond for huge savings
The Sedro-Woolley School Board voted in February to refinance the 2011 CMS Bond. The school district was able to secure a savings of $701,251 (through the life of the bond: Dec. 1, 2030) for local taxpayers.
District’s enrollment dip results in funding loss
Enrollment took a substantial hit during the 2020-2021 school year, decreasing by 316 to 4,083 students, which resulted in a loss of about $3.1 million in funding.