Levy

The Washougal School Board of Directors has approved a replacement Enhanced Programs & Operations Levy and Capital Levy on the February 14, 2023 ballot at their November 22, 2022 board meeting.

Levy funding Safe, Warm Connected in a circle with dollar signEnhanced Programs & Operations Levy

Washougal voters will be asked to consider a replacement Enhanced Programs and Operations Levy (EP&O) to fund services and operations not funded by the state or federal government.  These services include:

  • Instructional Support
    • Librarians, secretaries, paraeducators, textbooks, curriculum, food service, AVID program, community programs including Spanish Speaking Family Nights, preschool, and the Drug Free Communities grant match
  • Student Learning & Staffing
    • Art & music, Advanced Placement, Highly Capable Program, professional development & training, substitute teachers, classified staff substitutes, special education teachers and support staff, English Language Learner support, teachers above state funded levels to keep class sizes lower
  • Athletics & Activities
    • School athletics, coaches, advisors, performing arts programs, extra-curricular activities, transportation
  • Operations & Maintenance
    • Custodians, grounds staff, maintenance staff, utilities, supplies, equipment, fuel, vehicles
  • Health & Safety
    • Security staff, counselors, nurses, Family Community Resource Coordinators

The EP&O Levy will be assessed at $1.99 per thousand of assessed value for tax years 2024, 2025, and 2026.  The levy is projected to generate $9,500,000 in 2024, $10,500,000 in 2025, and $11,500,000 in 2026.

EPO Levy Supports 7% Instructional Support, 43% Student Learning and Staffing, 11% athletics and activities, 28% operations and maintenance, 11% health & safety, on a chart that is shaped like a school house with clock, trophy, flag, and book, light bulb, heart, and sprocket icons for each area

If the replacement EP&O Levy is approved, Washougal will expand its educational offerings so the district can know, nurture, and challenge all students to rise!  Starting in 2025, levy funds will:

  • Increase Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) opportunities
  • Increase visual and performing arts opportunities
Capital Levy for Technology, Health, and Safety

Technology Levy dollars pay for the district’s 1:1 initiative, up-to-date computers and devices, classroom instructional technology, professional development and coaching, technology infrastructure and staffing, and digital curriculum and software.

Starting in 2025, as bond collections decrease, the proposed Capital Levy will increase by a corresponding amount to fund some additional projects. If approved, the Capital levy would be assessed at $0.21 per thousand of assessed value for tax year 2024, $0.84 per thousand in 2025, and $0.85 in tax year 2026.  The levy would collect $950,000 in 2024, $3,950,000 in 2025, and $4,150,000 in tax year 2026.

The additional funds would be used to replace the roof at Washougal High School, improve security at our schools, improve ADA access for main entrances, update carpet and vinyl flooring in schools, and install more efficient heating systems and controls.

It has been 25 years since most of our schools were last remodeled. These additional projects planned within the Capital Levy will help us preserve the community’s investment in great school facilities, and help ensure these schools last to serve another generation of Washougal’s students.

What does this cost taxpayers?

If approved by voters, the EP&O levy will cost property owners $1.99 per thousand, and the Capital Levy will cost $0.21 per thousand in 2024.  This will lower the EP&O levy rate from the $2.14 that was approved by voters in 2020.  The chart below shows the rate per thousand for  state levy for schools, the EP&O levy, the tech levy, and our school construction bond over time.

Chart of proposed levy rates from 2021 through 2026 with decrease in EPO from $2.14 to $1.99

Starting in 2025, as bond collections decrease, the capital levy will increase by the same amount to fund some health and safety improvements.  This includes a new high school roof, improved entrances with better security and ADA access, carpet and vinyl flooring replacements, and installation of more efficient heating systems and controls. If the replacement capital levy is approved by voters, these projects can be funded without increasing the overall tax rate, keeping  tax rates stable and consistent across all three years. 

How much will it cost me?

An owner of a $539,000 home (the average sale price for a home in Washougal) would pay about $1,185.80 per year, or $98.82 per month for both levies.

To calculate your estimated tax for the combined rates in 2024, use this formula:

(assessed home value)  multiplied by $2.20 then divide by 1,000 = annual amount

Proposed levy tax amounts and rates by year, with EPO and Capital levy from 2023. Amount increases as rate per 1000 decreases in 2024, 2025 and 2026. See accompanying text for amounts.

Are there tax exemptions?

Yes, disabled persons and those over 61 years of age may be eligible for a tax exemption.  For information about these programs, contact the county assessor’s office for your county.  Clark County Assessor is at 564-397-2391 or Skamania County Assessor at 509-427-3720.

Why are there two levies? 

Each levy funds a different kind of work.  The EP&O levy funds programs and staffing.  The Capital Levy funds facilities improvements for health and safety, and keeps our technology up-to-date. The two levies work together to keep students Safe, Warm, and Secure!

The proposed Capital Levy would collect additional tax dollars .  Why doesn’t that increase tax rates?  

As Capital Levy rates increase, the bond tax rates decrease by an equal amount, resulting in a consistent and predictable tax rate. These are not new taxes, and overall tax rates are predicted to stay the same.

When planning the 2015 bond, leadership built in several opportunities for a future bond in the payment structure. The bond payments will stair-step down starting in 2025.  We do not currently have a need to run a bond.  Starting in 2025, as bond collections decrease, the capital levy will increase by the same amount to fund some health and safety improvements.  This includes a new high school roof, improved entrances with better security and ADA access, carpet and vinyl flooring replacements, and installation of more efficient heating systems and controls.  These proactive measures would preserve the life of our buildings and protect the community’s investment. This change is illustrated in the graphic, where the green bar in 2025 and 2026 gets smaller, and the blue bar increases by the same amount. 

Chart of proposed levy rates from 2021 through 2026 with decrease in EPO from $2.14 to $1.99

Could impact fees fund the projects that the capital levy is going to pay for? 

No, impact fees are only able to be collected when a school district has increasing enrollment. Currently, Washougal Schools are not experiencing growth that would let us levy impact fees.  Also, impact fees can only fund items that are attributable to growth included in the capital facility plan, like building new classrooms, purchasing land for a new school, or adding portables.   

What’s the difference between bonds and levies? 

Voters approved a bond in 2015. An easy way to remember the difference between bonds and levies is that bonds are for building, and levies are for learning.  The bond funded construction of the Jemtegaard Middle School replacement, and the new Columbia River Gorge Elementary, as well as the Transportation facility and the new Excelsior building at WHS.  School bonds are used to fund large construction projects, like new schools, or major remodels. The district does not have a need to build new schools in the next few years, so our capital levy will create capacity to do some needed facility improvements to keep our schools in great shape and protect the communities investment in excellent learning spaces. 

What positions does the levy fund?

The levy funds staffing above what the state provides funding for.  This includes additional counselors, librarians, and Special Education teachers.  It also pays for additional paraeducators, secretaries, security staff, grounds and maintenance, bus drivers, technology staffing, substitute teachers, and school nurses. 

Printable version of the levy mailer provided for all Washougal residents. 

When can I vote?

Ballots are due by February 14, 2023.  Washougal voters will receive ballots by mail in late January.  Voters can return completed ballots by mail or using a Clark County Elections dropbox or Skamania County Elections dropbox.  

Note: 

  • If voting by mail, ballots must be postmarked no later than Election Day; 
  • If using a drop box, ballot must be turned in by 8 pm on Election Day; 
  • If returned in person to the Elections Office, it must be received by 8 pm on Election Day.
Additional Information

For more information about school district funding, please contact Director of Business and Operations Kris Grindy at 360-954-3003, or contact the Washougal School District at 360-954-3000.

Future tax rates are estimates and may fluctuate due to changes in property assessments and area growth.

 

Washougal School District is seeking applications from persons interested in being appointed to committees to write the for/against statements for the Clark and Skamania County Local Voters’ Pamphlets related to the District’s following ballot measures, (10) Replacement Educational Programs and Operations Levy and (11) Replacement Capital Levy for Safety, Technology and Infrastructure Improvements, to be considered at the February 14, 2023 Special Election. Those interested should send their name, address, phone number and which position they represent to Kori Kelly, Administrative Assistant, Washougal School District, 4855 Evergreen Way, Washougal, WA 98671 or via email at kori.kelly@washougalsd.org by noon on December 8, 2022. The Board will take action on the appointments at its December 13, 2022 regular board meeting.

Posted per RCW 29A.32.280

 

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