Federal Way Public Schools is asking voters to approve the renewal of a local educational programs and operations (EP&O) levy for the next four years. This is the same amount approved by voters in the last levy election, with the same rate. Approval of this levy will NOT increase taxes.
The EP&O levy provides over one-fifth or 20% of our total budget. It is vital to providing the services and programs our students need, and our community expects. This levy pays for educational programs and school operations, including:
- 8 of every 100 classroom teachers (without these teachers, class sizes would increase by about 2 students per class).
- 16 of every 100 classified staff, including secretaries, custodians, maintenance, grounds, security and technology staff.
It allows the district to continue offering important programs for our students’ success — including athletics, music, after-school activities and other programs that the state does not include in its funding formulas.
It also lets us leverage local dollars to receive state and federal dollars for programs like:
- AmeriCorps – Federal program that puts 50 trained tutors in our schools.
- Air Force Junior ROTC – an aeronautics-oriented junior ROTC program that teaches students skills that will qualify them for high-demand career fields.
- International Baccalaureate, Cambridge, and College Board examinations – allowing all qualified students to take these important tests no matter their families’ ability to pay.
How much will it cost?
The district is asking voters to approve a $53 million levy per year for 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.
How much will it cost the average homeowner?
In 2013, the King County Assessor’s office valued the average single-family home in Federal Way at $159,014. For that average Federal Way home, the cost of the levy is $713 a year, $59.42 a month, $13.71 a week, or $1.95 a day. And that’s less than the cost of a latte at most coffee shops.
What if home values increase?
Because the voters authorize a total amount, not a tax rate, increases in property values should not impact what the average homeowner pays. As property values rise, our tax rate automatically decreases.
The district is likely to collect less than the full $53 million
Although voters authorized $53 million in collections during 2013 and 2014, the district will actually collect $17 million less than voters authorized during this two-year period. If the state continues to leave levy equalization dollars in place, we will continue to collect less than the voters authorize. However, approval of this levy will protect the district in case the legislature makes cuts to levy equalization in the coming four years.
Read more on the district website, www.fwps.org/epolevy.