How can I learn more? FAQ

Visit this PSD School Levy Election webpage often. Watch for clarifying information and additional responses to “Frequently Asked Questions.”

If you have a question, please contact the district via email at communications@puyallup.k12.wa.us

Frequently Asked Questions:

 

What is an educational programs and operations levy?

·        An educational programs and operations levy helps fund day-to-day learning needs such as textbooks and extracurricular programs.

·        School levies require a 50 percent plus one vote to pass.

·        Puyallup voters last approved a four-year levy in 2014.

 

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). 

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.


How is this different from a bond?

·        A bond pays for capital projects such as new school construction, remodels, technology upgrades, and other school improvements.

·        The 2015 school construction bond, for example, funds the replacement of three elementary schools, renovation and expansion of one elementary school, the construction of a new elementary school, and a 12 classroom addition to Hunt Elementary

·        School bonds require a 60 percent supermajority to pass, and voter turnout must be at least 40 percent of the previous general election.

 

Is this a new tax?

No. the proposed four-year Educational Programs and Operations Replacement Levy replaces the current four-year levy, which expires in December 2018. By law, school levies can only be for a maximum of four years and must be approved by a public vote.

 

What is the cost to taxpayers?

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). There may be additional taxes individuals are paying. This response only addresses the proposed replacement levy.

How much money would the replacement levy provide?

The school programs and operations levy would provide $31.5 million for 2019, which is less than the $54.1 million levy approved by voters for 2018. It would provide $33 million in 2020, $34.5 million in 2021, and $36.5 million in 2022.

How does the levy affect the district’s operating budget?
The expiring Educational Programs and Operations Levy represents 19% of the districts operating budget this is the equivalent of approximately 170 teachers.

How will the levy dollars affect 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. 

 

Where can I get other questions answered?

The district has set up an email address especially for questions about the proposed school levy. Send questions to communications@puyallup.k12.wa.us.