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School board approves "enrichment" levy details


The Grand Coulee Dam School District board approved the details of a new “enrichment” levy, at their Nov. 26 school board meeting. The levy will be on the Feb. 12, 2019 ballot for voters to approve or deny.

The enrichment levy, also known as the Replacement Educational Programs and Operation Levy, replaces what was called an “operations and maintenance” levy that expires at the end of 2018. The enrichment levy is the second part of a two-levy approach intended to replace the single levy now taken over by the state.

That O&M levy took in up to $4.01 per thousand dollars of assessed property value, but because of Engrossed House Bill (EHB) 2242, passed by state Legislature in 2017, the school district can now only ask for amounts up to the equivalent of $1.50 per thousand for what is called an enrichment levy.

The difference between the two is $2.51. The state also began taking 81 cents per thousand for education, and a $1.70 Capital Projects Levy passed earlier this year makes up that difference.

The total rate taxpayers pay should still equal the $4.01 per thousand they were paying 2017, under the school board’s plan.

Without the $1.50 per thousand enrichment levy passing, Superintendent Paul Turner says the school district would be short over $1.2 million per year, as the budget now stands, in coming years. Even with the levy passing, because of budget strains, including recent salary increases, the district is set to be short about $800,000 per year.

“We have to roll up our sleeves and figure it out,” Turner said about the budget strain.

Levy would support schools in several ways

The enrichment levy, designed to take in dollar amounts equal to a value of up to $1.50 per thousand dollars of assessed property value, is estimated to bring in $422,577 in 2019, $475,000 in 2020, $503,500 in 2021, and $533,710 in 2022. The increase each year factors in an estimated 8-percent increase in property value each year.

Because school years differ from calendar years, the levy, if approved by voters, would bring in an estimated $450,000 for the 2019-20 school year, $489,997 for 2020-21, and $519,397 for 2021-22.

The money would be distributed as follows:

Regular Instruction: $209,962 to $233,688 per year

Special Education Instruction: $120,000 to $133,560 per year

Vocational Education: $17,327 to $18,367 for two years

Other Instructional Programs: $50,000 to $55,650 per year

Support Services: $70,200 to $78,132 per year.

A further breakdown shows that same amount as being distributed as follows:

Salaries for certificated employees: $100,000 to $113,420 per year

Salaries for classified employees: $160,000 to $181,472 per year

Benefits and payroll taxes: $104,000 to $117,957 per year

Supplies and instructional resources - $70,162 to $84,134 per year

Travel - $16,000 to $22,414 per year

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