At a regular meeting of Deer Park’s Board of Directors on December 11th, 2017, the Board unanimously approved a resolution to place a three-year replacement of the Educational Programs & Operations Levy (EP&O) on the February 13, 2018 special election ballot. The EP&O levy will provide continuing funding of up to $2 million dollars for programs that are enhancements to what the state defines as basic education. Levy tax collections will be capped at $1.50 per thousand in assessed value, a reduction from the current levy which expires in 2018 (present rates are at $2.41).
Local levies are an essential funding source for a number of school programs, activities, and positions. At a recent presentation to the Deer Park Chamber of Commerce, Superintendent Travis Hanson said, “Unfortunately, state funding does not cover the costs of programs or positions deemed to be outside of the scope of what’s considered to be basic education.” Hanson went on to say, “As has been the case for decades, local levy dollars provide resources for programs and services that our community expects. Local levies provide school districts with the ability to help their community retain local control over the programs and activities we offer for our kids. It’s important to remember that voters are being asked to replace the current levy, not to approve a new tax. In fact, the upcoming three-year levy guarantees a lower rate for all our taxpayers.”
Washington State law specifies that levy funds can be used for educational “enhancements” such as athletics, activities, student transportation, STEM programs, technology enhancements, additional instructional support staff, nursing staff, academic support/enrichment, additional counseling staff, music and arts programs, class size reductions, and much more. “We believe these enhancements are all critically important elements of our schools that our local levy allows us to provide,” said Hanson. “Historically, this community has shown great support for the Educational Programs & Operations Levy. There are truly exciting things going on in our schools and the amount of support we’ve received is a testament to the value this community continues to place on education.”
If you have questions about the upcoming Education Programs & Operations Levy, you can get more information at the FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS page, or you can all Superintendent Travis Hanson at 464-5507.