Submitted by Lopez Island School District
The Lopez School board is asking voters to renew the existing local school levy at the same tax rate that has been in place for the past four years. The board voted last week to place the renewal levy on the Aug. 7 election ballot.
The renewal levy will provide money necessary to fund a range of expenses and programs at Lopez School. Items funded by the local levy include: basic utilities like electricity and phone; sports; drama; the healthy food and garden program; support for students with special needs; staff professional development; art and music; and school nurse hours.
“This levy is absolutely essential for Lopez School to continue its current program,” stated school board chair John Helding. “We get state support but that comes with many strings attached ,and we can only continue to offer our full program with the support of this local levy.”
The total amount of the levy will go to Lopez School and is not distributed to other parts of the state. The levy will be renewed at the same level that has been in place for the last four years.
Board member Carol Steckler added, “We are all very aware of the recent increases in property taxes, and so we chose not to increase the school local tax assessment, but at the same time chose to keep it at the level we need to maintain our current program.”
The Aug. 7 election date is unusual for a school levy, and it is critical that registered voters take the time to vote in this special election. Ballots should arrive in mailboxes the second half of July.
The August election date was necessitated because it has been unclear how the new state school funding formula will affect small school districts like Lopez. Even now it remains unclear exactly what restrictions will be placed on local support.
“This levy gives us the best possible chance to keep our program whole,” shared Helding. “It will authorize the same level of local support we’ve received for the last four years. That said, a challenging future situation for us is any limits the state places on how much of our local levy authorization we are allowed to collect. If such limits become the long-term policy out of Olympia, it could have significant negative impacts on our program.”
The election date is Aug. 7. An initial information session about the levy will be held at 5:30 p.m., March 23, at the school library. All are invited to attend.