The Battle Ground Public Schools Board of Directors approved a resolution this week to put a replacement levy before voters on the Feb. 14, 2017 ballot. This educational maintenance and operations (M & O) levy is not a new tax. It will replace the school district's current levy, which provides about 23 percent of the district's total operating budget and expires at the end of 2017.
"This levy will help Battle Ground maintain the funding for essential student programs and services," said Board President Monty Anderson. "Local support is critical due to the state inadequately funding basic education and not providing for the maintenance of facilities as we would our own homes."
Battle Ground's levy pays for basic services that are key to providing a quality education and getting students the help they need both socially and academically. The levy enables the district to keep class sizes small, supply technology resources to students, and provide for security and learning experiences such as electives and Advanced Placement (AP) courses and after-school activities. Battle Ground's levy pays for an additional 260 teachers, school and district support staff, and administrators over what the state funds.
Levy dollars also pay for health services, music and art classes, drug prevention education, instructional technology, security monitors, education for students with special needs, utilities, and insurance. The levy also funds textbooks and curricula, staff positions and salaries and professional development, transportation, and building maintenance.
Across Washington, nearly all of the 295 districts rely on levy money to provide important student programs and services.
The levy funds, which will provide approximately $31.7 million in 2018, $33.3 million in 2019, $34.9 million in 2020, and $36.7 million in 2021, bridge the gap between the basic education funding provided by the state and the current operating budget of the district. In addition, If voters approve the levy, the Battle Ground district will be eligible to receive up to $26 million in levy equalization funds from the state over the four-year period. The tax rate for the levy is projected to stay the same as the 2016 levy rate, which is $3.66 per $1,000 of assessed value. The actual impact on property owners will depend on the increase or decrease in assessed value. The total amount of the levy collected cannot increase even if the district's assessed value increases.
Levy information will be available on the district's website and social media outlets, and through public presentations. In addition, questions can be emailed to email@example.com or called into (360) 885-5470.
Established in 1909, Battle Ground Public Schools (Battle Ground School District No. 119) is the 24th largest school district in the state of Washington. The district is home to 18 schools, serving the educational needs of 13,000 students. With 1,500 employees, Battle Ground Public Schools is the largest employer in Battle Ground.