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School board looking at renewing two levies

By NATHAN WHALEN
Whidbey Examiner Staff
October 18, 2013 · 2:20 PM
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The Coupeville School Board is looking to ask voters early next year to re-approve two levies that brings in millions of dollars a year into the  district.

Board members met Monday to consider options for the operations levy that expires next year. That four-year levy accounts for $2.2 million of the school districts approximately $10 million budget. They didn’t make any vote Monday.

Coupeville School District Business Manager Denise Mehal presented several scenarios on the next four-year levy. School districts generally ask for a set amount for a particular year. If that amount generally exceeds 28 percent of revenues, then the extra amount is “rolled back” and not collected from taxpayers.

If the school district runs a levy that maintains the same $2.2 million a year for the next four years, then the school district would be scheduled to approve a rollback in 2018 of $306,000, according to a presentation that Mehal gave during the board’s Monday evening meeting. That rollback would need to be done because a state law allowing school districts to collect a levy amount equalling 28 percent of revenue expires in 2017. If the Legislature doesn’t extend the law, than the amount drops to 24 percent.

If the school district moves forward with a levy that would collect around 24 percent of revenue, then it would bring in  $1.9 million a year with a total of $7.7 million collected over four years.

Mehal also had some facts available comparing Coupeville’s levy with other districts.

When divided by the number of students, Coupeville’s levy amount per pupil is $2,392 while Oak Harbor’s is $675 and South Whidbey is $2,544.

She also had amounts from similarly sized school district: North Beach is $2,349, Chimacum is $2,236 and Cascade is $2,067.

The school district’s maintenance and operations levy rate is $1.19 per $1,000 assessed property value, which ranks 218 of the 284 school districts in the state. She noted that 11 districts in the state don’t have a levy.

The Coupeville School District will also ask the community to re-approve a technology levy that will bring in $300,000 a year to maintain and upgrade the district’s computing devices.

Over the past four years, the school district has used the current technology levy to purchase more than 700 computing devices, a new phone system and training and support.

Voters in 2010 approved both measures. The maintenance and operations levy passed with  60.3 percent majority and the technology levy passed with a 57.7 percent majority.

The Coupeville School Board didn’t make any decisions Monday. They needed time to examine the information.

“Let’s digest and ruminate on it a little bit,” Superintendent Jim Shank said during the meeting.

The school board can make a decision about the levy amounts in November.

They have to file the levy proposals in December in order to make the February special election ballot.

 


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