LEVY RESOURCES AND FAQS
Learn More About Levies
As an employer and/or a community member, it is important to be informed and inform your employees on regional voting opportunities, especially those that directly impact our public school systems. In this list of links below, you will find helpful resources on how to best encourage your employees and community to “Vote YES for Education.”
What is a school levy?
- Levy = learning (staff, programs & activities).
- Replacement Levy = the renewal of an existing enrichment levy that is about to expire. Not a new tax, simply the continuation of an existing tax.
- A short-term, local property tax passed by the voters of a school district that generates revenue for the district to fund programs and services that the state does not fund or fully fund as part of basic education.
- A way for local communities to enrich basic education programs and activities not funded by the state that is necessary for a well-rounded education. Local educational program and operation levies fill the gap between state funding and the actual cost of critical programs.
- Levy dollars represent programs and positions that are not currently considered part of basic education. This includes* nurses, counselors, art, music, technology, textbooks and materials, STEM, transportation, extracurricular activities and smaller class sizes. *varies by district
- Levies make up 12-18% of regional school districts’ operating budgets every year.
- Levies require a simple majority for passage (50%+).
Why should I vote yes when our schools are fully, or partially, closed?
- We all want to see our students in school to have a normal learning experience that includes small class sizes, intervention services, athletics, activities, art, music, and safety. Voting no on replacement levies means students have not only missed out on these important school experiences during the pandemic but when they return to school after the pandemic, will continue to miss out on many of the same things given lack of levy funding. How tragic would it be for kids to be so eager to return to school for music, athletics, or library, only to find out those experiences don’t exist anymore. They would also return to school with higher class sizes, fewer nurses, less counselors, fewer special education services, and less intervention supports. Critical resources and support would be gone when our kids are going to need them the most. Simply put, voting no punishes kids, not adults. Kids deserve to return to school and have all the same experiences and services that students have always enjoyed. Voting no on the replacement levies would deny kids those opportunities.
Teachers and support staff are not working, why should I vote yes?
- Despite the perception that distance and hybrid learning is less work, it actually takes many more hours of work to make personal connections and provide instruction and support when kids are at home and not attending our schools. In many cases, teachers are working longer hours and often times on weekends to keep up with the demand and time intensive nature of connecting with kids. Building administrators have never seen staff more tired or fatigued. Teachers and support staff continue to work hard and be devoted to the students they serve.
Districts are saving millions of dollars while school buildings are closed and activities are suspended, why should I vote yes if they have all this extra money?
- It is true that districts are saving some money during the school closure. However, despite the closure of school buildings, districts are also facing new costs related to areas such as technology, intervention services, staffing to meet COVID-19 safety requirements, and health services. Any savings may help districts next year, however, that would in no way cover the 12-18% of funding that the local levy provides to each local district. In addition, the levy is for three years, any savings from this year would certainly not impact districts beyond the immediate future.
How does the levy impact the local economy?
- Collectively, all 14 school districts make up one of the largest employers in Spokane County. Without 12-18% of their operating budget, more than 700 employees would be laid off. This would harm individuals and would further depress the current economic crisis we are facing. It would be mean people out of work, which we know impacts local business. Simply put, our public school districts are a key part of the local economy and failed levies would hurt us all.
Please visit your local school district's website for more specific information and resources.
This campaign and materials are paid for the by the Alliance for a Competitive Economy of Greater Spokane Incorporated.