Town hall meeting on 2022 school levy set
Last updated 10/5/2022 at 5:01am
As a community, we are facing a significant decision between now and November 8th, Election Day this year. Whether we are willing to admit it or not, the outcome of this decision will affect everyone in our extended community — young and old alike. The result of this community-wide decision will clearly have an impact on the quality of education received by our school-aged children. As voters we must decide whether we will continue to financially support the public schools in the GCDSD area by approving a school levy…or not.
The successful education of our community’s children has a wide-ranging and prolonged impact on all area residents. Properly educated and socially developed young people are this community’s future and strength. These youngsters will become the next round of community leaders, business owners, employees, volunteers and, yes, voters.
Before we address the details of this year’s levy request, a brief review of local school levy history may prove informative. The school district is facing the expiration of two separate levies this year: one for capital improvements (construction and maintenance of facilities), and the other for education programs and operations (EP&O). Combined, these two previously approved levies resulted in a taxpayer obligation rate of $4.20 per $1,000 of property assessment in the four counties (Grant, Okanogan, Douglas and Lincoln) serviced by the GCDSD.
Now to the details of the current levy request set before us this November. With the objective of sustaining school district services at their recent historical and current levels, the GCDSD is seeking voter approval of the Education Programs and Operation (EP&O) levy. The levy rate is set at $2.00 per $1,000 of assessed property value.
The EP&O levy, when approved, will supplement extra-curricular and co-curricular activities, including athletics, clubs, and associated student body events; academic support (pre-school program, special education, and staffing needed to keep class sizes manageable), drivers’ education, the school lunch program, and technology support. Failure to approve this levy will reduce the GDCSD budget by $1,500,000 ($1.5 million) per year. That reflects not only the loss of levy revenue but also the loss of supplemental Washington State-authorized funds given to school districts receiving levy income. The annual reduction of $1.5 million from the school district’s budget will have a major and lasting impact on the programs listed above and on succeeding years’ budgets within the district.
Your School Board decided not to place the capital improvements levy before voters this election cycle to keep the levy cost to taxpayers at a minimum. For most property owners the levy cost will be less than half that previously approved over the past several school levy cycles.
To assist the community in understanding this EP&O levy and its impact, the GCDSD Superintendent and Board are hosting a town hall meeting Monday, October 10th starting at 5:30 pm in the Lake Roosevelt High School cafeteria. We invite every interested citizen to join us for this informational session. This meeting will also be available online via a “Zoom” link for those who cannot attend in person. Go to http://www.gcdsd.org for “Zoom” link details. Bring your questions in person or online. We will endeavor to honestly answer your questions and respond to your concerns.
Emotions aside, we believe if everyone understands the facts surrounding this levy request, asks engaging questions when uncertain about a point or points, and recognizes the adverse impact that losing levy revenue will have on our school system and the school-age kids in our district, then an informed electorate will support and approve this levy request. Please be informed and vote! Ballots for this fall’s local/state/federal elections will be in the mail the latter half of October.
The Grand Coulee Dam School District
Board of Directors:
George La Place, Rich Black, Ken Stanger,
Shannon Nicholson and Alex Tufts