Voters will decide three school levies
June 16, 2009
By Chantelle Lusebrink
Issaquah School Board members unanimously approved presenting three school funding levies to voters in February 2010.The Issaquah School District’s proposed package would supplement its strapped budget with more than $212 million by 2014 if voters approve it. It is a slightly amended package from the one presented to school board members May 13.
The three levies are a Maintenance and Operations Levy, a Transportation Levy and a Capital (technology and critical repairs) Levy.
For taxpayers, the total estimated tax for all levies during each year would be:
4$3.88 per assessed $1,000 in 2011
4$3.88 per assessed $1,000 in 2012
4$3.51 per assessed $1,000 in 2013
4$3.51 per assessed $1,000 in 2014
Under the proposal, there would not be a tax increase nor would the district exceed the tax rate promised by district officials in 2006, which was $3.97 per $1,000 of assessed property, said Jake Kuper, chief of finance and operations for the district.
The Maintenance and Operations Levy covers the state’s shortfall for special education, teacher salaries, highly capable learners, English language learners, Advanced Placement and honors courses, and extracurricular activities. On average, the levy would bring in $41.5 million annually.
The Transportation Levy allows district officials to purchase new buses. The one-year 2011 levy will tax each household 7 cents for every $1,000 of assessed property. It will provide the district $1.7 million between 2011 and 2014 to purchase 41 buses.
The Capital Levy enables district officials to make critical repairs on buildings and purchase new computers and software for buildings. The critical repairs piece would give the district $5.6 million over four years. The technology piece was reduced from collecting about $34.8 million to collecting about $32.9 million over four years.
District officials met with board members between the May and June meetings to make reductions in the technology piece of the Capital Levy. The savings is about $1.9 million to tax payers.
The biggest impact to that levy was the elimination of full wireless connections at all elementary school buildings.
Wireless connections are being built into the new elementary school on the plateau as part of its construction costs. However, other schools will only have wireless installed in core areas of the buildings, like the library, office and multipurpose rooms, so community meetings could more easily take place.
There is additional money in the levy, however, to invest in mobile wireless carts, which can roll into specific classrooms for special events.
Full wireless installation will occur at the middle and high schools, since there is ongoing demonstrated need for wireless in every classroom and common room, administrative officials said.
Reach Reporter Chantelle Lusebrink at 392-6434, ext. 241, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com.