January 30, 2012 |

Granite Falls School District Replacement Levy Q&A

Levies provide money for programs, activities, and services that are not covered by state funding for basic education. The state does not fully fund basic education programs so school districts ask local voters to pick up the cost of education that the state does not pay for through “levies”.

The replacement School Programs and Operation Levy is used for daily operations of the school — for programs and services such as utility bills, purchase of textbooks and school bus transportation.

The replacement Technology and School Improvements Levy is used for purchases such as computer hardware, software, applications, and licensing or a new roof on a school. Both levies REPLACE the current levies that expire December 31, 2012, so when one levy expires the new levy starts—think of a magazine subscription that expires every year and needs to be “renewed”. Passage of the levies simply supports the present commitment to programs and services. This is not a new tax but a replacement of the current levies.

When is the election?

Every eligible voter should have received a ballot in the mail approximately January 27. You can vote and return your ballot as soon as you receive it, but all ballots must be postmarked on or before February 14, which is the official election date.

What will the replacement levies pay for?

The levies will pay for a portion of many programs and services which are not fully funded by the state. Examples include:

• Textbooks, library books, and classroom supplies;

• School bus transportation;

• Music and athletic equipment;

• Computer hardware, software, applications, licensing and other needs for student learning;

• Staff support such as class advisors, academic team advisors, and coaches salaries;

• Large maintenance needs such as painting a school or a new roof;

• Utilities (heat, lights) and insurance;

• Upkeep and maintenance of all facilities and grounds;

What will the replacement levies cost me?

The replacement levies will cost approximately the same as taxpayers are currently paying. The School Board did not increase the levy amount due to the economic issues we all face.

Are the replacement levies a new tax?

No, the levies you are voting on February 14 will be for 2013 and 2014 to replace the levies that expire December 31, 2012. This is not a new tax but a replacement of the existing levies. These levies are to continue, or “renew” the current levies.

Does the state provide additional funds for the replacement levies?

Yes, the levies are two separate issues for one reason—to capture additional state funding from the sale of timber within our District.

By separating the levies, the District will receive an average $50,000 more per year from the state. The state only provides the additional money on the replacement Technology Levy so the District separates the levies in order to capture the state funding.

If the levies were combined into one, the District would lose that additional state money.

Why is a replacement School Programs and Operation Levy necessary?

PThe replacement levy helps with daily operating costs including music throughout the school.

Although the state requires the government to fund basic education, the state does not pay the full cost of education for our children.

Examples are textbooks, maintenance of facilities and grounds and transportation costs. As a result, local taxpayers are asked to make up the difference between what the state pays for and the actual cost of education through “levies”.

Will the replacement School Programs and Operation Levy increase my taxes?

No, the levy will cost approximately the same as you are currently paying.

Why is a replacement Technology and School Improvements Levy necessary?

Again, the state does not fully fund the cost of education for our children. Examples include purchases such as computer hardware, software, applications, or licensing, or large maintenance repairs such as painting a school or a new roof.

Will the replacement Technology and School Improvements Levy increase my taxes?

No, the levy will cost approximately the same as you are currently paying.

What will the replacement levies cost?

The replacement levies will cost approximately the same as taxpayers are currently paying:

Can senior citizens and disabled people qualify for school tax exemptions?

Yes, if you are 62 or older or disabled, you may qualify for partial or full exemptions from voter approved levy (and bond) issues if your household income is limited. The application process is a simple, one page form - call the Snohomish County Auditor’s Office, 425.388.3433, for the application and qualification requirements.

Do my taxes decrease if more people move into the district?

Yes. As the population of Granite Falls increases, the cost of school taxes to each homeowner decreases. The amount collected cannot change, so as more people move into our area, costs are reduced for everyone. For example, if you need $10.00 and have 10 people, you would need $1.00 from each person. If you have 20 people, you would only need 50 cents from each person.

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