Voters asked to consider a reduced replacement levy
Voters asked to consider a reduced replacement levy

In an effort to continue the existing level of educational programs and operations at neighborhood schools, the Puyallup School Board has authorized the placement of an Educational Programs and Operations Replacement Levy on the February 13, 2018 Special Election ballot.

Voters will be asked to consider approving a reduced levy amount which will continue to fund educational programs and day-to-day operations.

The current levy, approved by voters with 66.81 percent, runs from 2014-2018 and is set to expire in December 2018.

If approved, the replacement levy could generate $31.5 million annually for the district’s operating budget averaged over four years from 2019-2022. The expiring levy provided approximately $49.5 million annually from 2015-18.

Local levy funds approved by taxpayers

account for 19 percent of the district’s

day-to-day operating budget in 2017-

18. They are not used to build new

schools, additional classrooms, or for

school improvements.

 

What does it cost homeowners?

The proposed replacement levy would cost tax payers significantly less than the existing levy which expires in 2018.

Levy rates depend on the final assessed value of homeowner’s property. At this time, based on information provided by the Pierce County Assessor’s office and state aw, the estimated rate for the proposed 2019-22 levy is $1.50 per thousand dollars of assessed valuation. This is $1.98 less than the current levy rate.

Based on this estimation the owner of a

$200,000 home, for example, would pay $300 a year in property taxes for the local levy ($200,000 divided by $1,000 multiplied by $1.50).

What do levy dollars pay for?

Current estimates of state funding for basic education fall short of providing all that is required to support essential educational programs and acceptable levels of staffing. In addition to enhancing basic education levy funds are used to address the individual needs of all our students such as special education instruction, advanced classes for high-achieving students, supplemental programs to bring students up to grade level, and transportation for homeless students. To address these needs this district, like many others statewide, submit levies to voters.

Classroom teachers, instructional assistants, nurses, and counselors

Highly trained teachers and staff are critical to student success. In recent years the district has made significant investments in professional development for staff such as Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) strategies and Response To Intervention (RTI). See page 4 for more information on RTI.

The equivalent of 170 certificated staff are funded by levy dollars. Levy support for teachers helps the district maintain reasonable class sizes. It also pays for text-books and learning materials used in the classroom.

“Puyallup has a strong tradition of

music and sports programs, which

encourage our students to find their

passion and help them reach their

potential. These educational enhance-

ments would not be possible without

levy funding.”

Puyallup School Board President

Kathy Yang

K-12 educational programs

Music, arts, and athletic programs are mainly funded through levy dollars. As the eighth largest district in the state with nearly 23,000 students, Puyallup schools are well known for high quality, competitive extracurricular opportunities.

There are currently nearly 8,500 secondary students enrolled in music, art, or drama. All students in grades K-6 (nearly 11,000) attend general music classes twice a week. Every elementary school offers a chorus program, usually before or after school. There are nearly 1,200 fifth and sixth grade students who choose to attend band or orchestra classes with an instructor at a junior high school prior to the start of the elementary school day.

Nearly one in four students choose to participate in athletics during junior high or high school. Last year 5,100 student athletes competed in one or more sport.

Health, safety, fire alarms, and security Student and staff safety remains a top priority throughout the district. Many improvements have been made in schools in the past few years, including the installation of video intercom systems to control access in all elementary schools.

Transportation of students

More than 16,500 students are transported to and from school each day. The district maintains 172 buses.

Day-to-day operations

The Operations Department provides a safe, clean, and optimum learning environment for students and staff. They are responsible for day-to-day cleaning and repairs and keep school buildings running efficiently. See page 3 for more information.

More levy information and questions

To learn more about the proposed Educational Programs and Operations Replacement Levy, visit the district website at www.puyallup.k12.wa.us or send questions to communications@puyallup.k12.wa.us.

Exemption from taxes may be available to homeowners who are 61 or older, disabled, and who meet certain income requirements. To determine if you qualify, call the Pierce County Assessor’s office at 253.798.2169.