Greetings from the School Board.
On Feb. 19 our Board held a special meeting to approve two levy resolutions for the April 23 election ballot. One is a partial replacement levy, and the other is a new capital levy. The amounts we requested are the same as the levies that failed to achieve the 50 percent margin needed to pass in the Feb. 12 election.
Our district’s needs have not changed since February. The partial replacement levy is needed because the state does not fully cover basic educational costs, which include a portion of employee salaries and benefits, as well as most of our extra-curricular programs, which have always been funded by local levy dollars.
Further, the capital projects levy is critical for upgrading old technology devices. These include some second- and third-generation iPads, which are no longer supported and have become technologically obsolete. Our students need usable equipment to help prepare them for the jobs of the future.
As Board members, we understand the shock the community experienced with the big one-time property tax increase last year. Fortunately, tax rates are going down in 2019, now that state-mandated local levy decreases are kicking in. The rates reflected in this levy resolution reflect that lower level.
Of Washington’s 295 school districts, 289—98 percent—have operations levies, and 104—35 percent—have capital levies. Enhancement levies remain a vital and necessary part of school funding, and 40 other districts large and small also ran and passed levies in February. Nineteen other districts ran technology levies, 15 of which passed.
Hockinson has been historically very strong financially, and the district has benefited from the consistent community support. In order to continue our current programs without cuts, we do need the funding provided by these levies.