Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between a LEVY and a BOND?
- A LEVY is approved by voters for a specific amount of years and a specific amount of money. A levy helps pay for the day-to-day operations of the school district. Levies are for learning.
- A BOND is approved by voters for a specific amount of money and can only be used for construction projects. Bonds are for building.
- The Wapato School District is running a replacement LEVY in the February 2018 election, not a bond.
What will the 2018 Replacement Levy cost taxpayers each year?
In 2019, for a home valued at $100,000-estimated annual cost would be $150. (levy amount $1,200,000)
In 2020, for a home valued at $100,000-estimated annual cost would be $150. (levy amount $1,200,000)
In 2021, for a home valued at $100,000-estimated annual cost would be $150. (levy amount $1,350,000)
In 2022, for a home valued at $100,000-estimated annual cost would be $150. (levy amount $1,350,000)
How is levy money spent by the school district?
A levy helps pay for the day-to-day operations of school districts including educational programs, safety and security, teachers, utilities, transportation, textbooks, athletics, etc. It is a way for local communities to supplement State and Federal funding which fall short of providing for all that is required to operate a school district. In the Wapato School District, local levy collections and State Levy Equalization account for about 12-percent of the District’s annual operating budget.
Is the Replacement Levy a new tax?
NO! It is not a new tax. The Educational Programs and Operations Replacement Levy will simply renew and replace the current 4-year levy approved by Wapato School District voters in 2014. That levy expires in December 2018.
Are senior citizens on a fixed income or disabled individuals exempt from paying levy taxes?
If you have a total gross annual household income under $40,000 and you are 61 years of age or older, or if you have a disability, you may qualify for exemption from all or part of this levy. More information is available at http://www.yakimacounty.us/613/Senior-or-Disabled-Exemptions
What happens if the replacement levy does not pass?
Without levy funds the District’s annual operating budget would have to be cut by about 12-percent. The School Board would be required to make cuts and reductions to educational programs, activities and general maintenance programs. Also, without a voter approved levy the school district is not able to receive Levy Equalization money from the State. That would mean an estimated loss of around $15.6-million in Levy Equalization over the four years. ($3.9-million in 2019, $3.9-million in 2020, $3.9-million in 2021, $3.9-million in 2022)
Why does the District need a levy?
In July 2017, state legislators passed a new law (EHB 2242) that changes the way the State funds public education. The new law requires the State to assume an increased responsibility to pay for education. As a result State property taxes are going up with the intent of lowering but not eliminating local school district levies. However, the additional State money must be spent in very specific ways. Those restrictions eliminate much of the school district’s local control over those dollars and they also leave gaps in funding for some programs, operations and activities. The school district has much more control over local levy dollars to fill those gaps and provide the educational programs, activities and operations our community wants in schools.
Will there be a chance to ask questions about the Replacement Levy proposal?YES! The District has scheduled two Replacement Levy public information forums. The first forum will take place on Thursday, January 25, 2018, starting at 6:00 p.m. in the Wapato High School Library. The second forum will take place on Monday, February 5, 2018, starting at 6:30 p.m. in the Camas Elementary School Gym.