Board adjusts levies due to assessed value change

Board adjusts levies due to assessed value change
Posted on 12/10/2019
A change in assessed valuation growth prompted Tahoma School Board to adjust the two levy measures that will be on the Feb. 11 election ballot.

At a special meeting Friday morning, the School Board unanimously approved adjustments to each levy. The proposed changes were discussed in depth at the board’s Dec. 3 work-study meeting. Superintendent Mike Maryanski and Director of Finance and Operations Lori Cloud told the board that its choices were to keep the original EP&O collection amount, which would increase the tax rate for property owners, or keep the rate at $2 per $1,000 by rolling back or reducing the amount to be collected.

The board chose to reduce the four-year Educational Programs and Operations Levy by about $1 million each year. The estimated levy rate for property owners of $2 per $1,000 of assessed valuation will remain the same. The levy is projected to collect $16.4 million the first year and increase to just under $21.3 million the final year.

The smaller, four-year Technology Levy will collect the same amount each year as in the original resolution, but the estimated cost per $1,000 of assessed valuation will rise by 2-3 cents in the revised measure. If approved, the levy will collect a total of $16.8 million over four years, with the rate per $1,000 of assessed value estimated at 47 cents the first year, 48 cents the next year, 44 cents the third year, and 40 cents the final year. The previous rate ranged from a high of 45 cents to 38 cents per $1,000.

The reason for the changes is linked to the formula for calculating levy rates. The school district sets a dollar amount that would be collected from each levy, based on funding needs, and that number is divided by the total assessed property value for the entire school district area to establish the tax rate paid by property owners. The district’s estimate relies on actual property values set by the King County Assessor and on projected property values. A few weeks after the School Board approved the two levy measures on Oct. 22, the assessor’s office issued the latest actual assessed value for the school district area, which was lower than the projected estimate the district used to set the rate.

Though the district will collect less money than originally planned from the EP&O levy, the gap can be filled by adjusting budgets and receiving additional state Local Effort Assistance money, which helps districts such as Tahoma that have lower than average assessed valuation.

Each levy is designed to pay for staffing, programs, supplies and equipment that are not funded or are only partly funded by state education dollars. Eight other King County school districts will have levy measures on the Feb. 11 ballot.

To read the original article about the levies from October, click here. The district will continue to share additional information and details between now and February.

At other recent meetings, the board:

*Approved the Perkins Grant for $29,398.
*Heard a report on the district's Reunification Plan, which is designed to safely reunite guardians and students in the case of an emergency.
*Heard a report about the grade 6-8 science curriculum from science teaching staff and Educurious representatives.
*Selected Tami Henkel to serve as president of the board, and Katrina Montgomery to serve as vice president of the board.
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