Renewal Levy on February 11 Ballot
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 levy will not increase taxes. This is the same amount approved by voters in the last levy election, but the district actually collected $17 million less than voters authorized for the two-year period.
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 and allows the district to hire staff beyond what state funding formulas pay for, 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.
It allows us to offer athletics, music, clubs 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 is the levy?
The district is asking voters to approve a $53 million levy per year for 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. Approval of this levy will protect the district from potentially destructive cuts from the state legislature for the coming four years. If the state leaves levy equalization dollars in place, the district will collect less than the $53 million, as it has done for two years. (Read more about levy rollbacks). If the state cuts levy equalization dollars, this levy will offset resulting losses to the district.
How much will it cost the average homeowner?
The average single-family home in Federal Way was valued at $159,014 in 2013, according to the King County Assessor’s office.
The average EP&O tax on the average home equals $713 a year. That’s $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.