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Facts about Educational Programs and Operations Replacement Levy
Educational Programs and Operations Replacement Levy on February ballot
Posted on 01/09/2018
Educational Programs and Operations Replacement Levy on February ballot

Voters will be asked to decide on a four-year Educational Programs and Operations Replacement Levy on the February 13, 2018 Special Election ballot.

This is not a new tax. The current levy is set to expire in December 2018.

The levy directly supports staffing, key educational programs, co-curricular activities, daily operations of 32 Puyallup schools, and maintains basic health, safety, and security throughout the district.

If approved, the replacement levy will begin in 2019 and represent a reduction to taxpayers. The estimated annual tax rate for the Educational Programs and Operations Replacement Levy will be $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, which is $1.98 cents less than the rate of $3.48 previously approved by voters in 2014.

revenue chartLocal levy funds represent 19 percent of the district’s $281 million operating budget.

This levy is critical to maintain the current level of educational programs and operations at neighborhood schools. In the past 30 years it has received strong local community support and has only failed once — in February 2002 — only to be renewed in April 2002.

Quick facts:

  •   * If approved, the levy will generate up to $33.9 million annually averaged over four years;
  •   * Levy dollars represent the equivalent of 170 certificated staff salaries (teachers);
  •   * The levy is needed for educational programs such as music, art, and drama which are not supported 
  •      by state funding;
  •   * Athletic programs are mainly supported through local levy dollars;
  •   * Local levy support enables day-to-day operations to provide a clean, healthy environment in 32 schools
  •     and 13 support facilities which directly support the education of nearly 23,000 students;
  •   * The district has a total of 170 acres of athletic fields and elementary playfields to maintain;
  •   * Levy dollars are not used to build new schools or for capital projects;
  •   * The Puyallup School District is the eighth largest district in the
  •      state and one of the oldest, having educated students since 1854.
  • school bus16,507 students are transported to
  • school each day in safe, efficient buses
  • maintained with levy dollars.

Under a new state law designed to increase state funding for public education, the 2017 Legislature passed a bill that begins to address the State Supreme Court’s order requiring basic education be funded by the state, not local taxpayers. An increase in the state education tax will begin in 2018. As a result, school districts will be limited in the amount of funding asked of voters in local levies.

The state Legislature’s funding formula for basic education falls short of providing all that is required to educate students. To make up the difference, this district, like many others in the state, will submit levies to voters to support acceptable levels of staffing and essential educational programs.

The Educational Programs Replacement Levy would allow key programs and necessary facility maintenance and operations to continue for the next four years. As a homeowner maintains their house over time, school districts must do the same.