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General FAQ

What is a capital levy? 

Capital levies are the main source of funding to ensure that every student has a safe, secure and welcoming learning environment. School districts receive limited state or federal funding for improvements to school buildings, grounds and facilities. Puyallup School District relies on voter-approved capital levies to fund school safety and security upgrades, technology improvements and improvements for schools and facilities.

Didn’t PSD pass a capital levy in February?

No. PSD ran two levies in February 2022, one was an Educational Programs and Operations Levy (EP&O), which helps fund instructional staff, resources, programs and extracurricular activities, and the other was a capital levy. The EP&O Levy was approved by a majority of PSD voters, however the capital levy was narrowly rejected. Since then, community feedback was gathered, and adjustments were made to the capital levy request voters will consider on November 8.

How is this levy different from the one considered in February?

The main difference between the previous and new capital levy request is that Proposition 1 will not include funds for constructing a central transportation facility or rebuilding the current maintenance facility. The funds that would have been used for those facilities have been reallocated in the new capital levy request to fund additional safety, security, and technology improvements districtwide.

Why is this levy needed?

Between now and 2028, PSD will have $206 million worth of critical repairs needed throughout the district. The capital levy is needed to address this growing backlog illustrated in the chart below.

Growing Backlog

What happens if the capital levy doesn’t pass? 

Without capital levy funds, the district’s ability to address critically deficient learning spaces and buildings would be impacted. If the levy does not pass, we would need to look at other ways to address security and safety needs for students, and facilities identified in the study and survey as needing critical repairs, such as roofs and floors. Paying for repairs out 
of the general fund means less money going into classrooms.

 Is there financial assistance available for property taxes? 

Low-income seniors and people with disabilities, or other qualifying circumstances, may qualify for tax relief, exemption, or deferral. To apply for this exemption, call the Pierce County Tax Exemptions Office at (253) 798-2169 or visit the Pierce County Elections website.

 When is the election? 

The election is November 8, 2022. Ballots must be postmarked by this date if mailed or returned to a ballot drop box by 8 p.m. on election day.  

If I don’t want to mail in my ballot, where can I drop it off? 

You can drop off your ballot at the following ballot drop box locations: 

• Puyallup Library, 324 South Meridian, Puyallup
• 
South Hill Library, 15420 Meridian E., Puyallup
• 
Edgewood City Hall, 2224 104th Ave. E., Edgewood 

Are these new taxes? 

The Capital Levy would collect $20.9 million each year over the course of 6 years to provide needed infrastructure improvements that address safety, security, and technology access throughout PSD schools and facilities.

The total tax rate change for a $500,000 home if this levy were to pass would be $XX per month.

What will the Capital Levy pay for? 

The Capital levy will support safe, secure, and efficient learning environments. The August 2021 Study and Survey report  provided a full analysis of existing building and site conditions.  This data prioritizes a plan to upgrade deficiencies in order to provide optimal learning environments and spaces.   

Safety and Security

• 
Upgrade fire protection infrastructure
• 
Enhance security intrusion systems
• 
Improve HVAC systems
• Address traffic flow issues at identified schools

Facility Efficiency and Repairs  

• Expand technology access
• 
Enhance school grounds, like junior high athletic tracks and elementary playgrounds
• 
Replace critically deficient roofs, floors, and lighting

What happens if the Capital Levy doesn’t pass? 

Without capital levy funds, the district’s ability to address critically deficient learning spaces and buildings would be impacted. If the levy does not pass, we would need to look at other ways to address security and safety needs for students, and facilities identified in the Study and Survey as needing critical repairs, such as roofs and floors.   

What is the estimated tax rate of the Capital Levy over six years? 

The Capital Levy would collect $20.9 million each year over the course of 6 years. 

Year  Est. Levy Rate Amount
2023  $.082  $20.8M
2024  $.079  $20.8M
2025   $.075  $20.8M
2026   $.072  $20.8M
2027  $.070  $20.8M
2028  $.067  $20.8M

*Per $1,000 of assessed property value 

 What is the total combined tax collection for school-related taxes? 

Puyallup’s existing total tax rate is $4.32 per $1,000 of assessed property value. 

If approved, the estimated total combined tax rate change for a $500,000 home would be $XX per month. 

 What happens if property values increase? 

If property values go up, the tax rate is adjusted downward. The school district cannot collect more than the amount approved by voters. Increases in property values do not generate more revenue for the school district. 

Who can I speak with for more information about the proposed levy? 

If you have additional questions, please reach out to us at [email protected]

What’s the difference between a levy and bond?

Simply stated, levies are for learning, and bonds are for building. Bonds and levies are local property taxes passed by the voters of a school district that generate revenue to fund programs, services and construction projects that the state does not pay for as part of “basic education.”

Bonds: A bond is a long-term investment that authorizes the district to purchase property for schools, construct new schools, or modernize existing schools. Bonds are sold to investors who are repaid with interest over time from property tax collections, generally between 12-20 years. Upon their sale, bonds provide funds only for capital projects. Bonds require a 60% +1 vote to pass.

Levies: Since the funding provided by the state does not cover the actual costs to operate a school district, districts often use levy funds to for student programming, services, infrastructure improvements, and repairs that are underfunded or not funded by the state. Bonds require a 50% +1 vote to pass.

How does our tax rate compare with neighboring school districts?

2022 Neighboring District Tax Comparison