Replacement of Expiring Levy for Educational Programs and Operations FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Is this levy special to the Enumclaw School District?
No.  All 295 school districts across our state have the authority to request local funding from their residents.


What is the history regarding this type of levy?
For decades, each school district in our state has needed to request money for schools from local levies, which typically occurred every two years. Because of the expense of elections to school districts (we have to use taxpayer money in order to put an item on the ballot), the state has allowed school districts to extend the time period to four years.  It is our goal to stay on the same election cycle as many of our neighboring school districts.  The last passage of our four-year Maintenance and Operations Levy was in February 2014 with a replacement ballot measure coming in February 2018.  

When the state legislature finalized their work on July 20, 2017, they had made some significant changes for how school districts must collect local money from a levy.


Has there been a name change?
In the past, the Enumclaw School District has called this levy “Maintenance and Operations Levy.”  As a result of state legislative action these levies have been renamed.  The title of the levy and form of the ballot must be approved by the Prosecutor’s Office in each county in the state.  We believe the title for our levy will be "Replacement of Expiring Levy for Educational Programs and Operations".  This title and the ballot form are currently at the Prosecutor’s Office for review.


What is the tax rate?
The legislature has established guidelines for districts, lowering the local school tax burden and shifting that burden to the state. The base guideline is districts may collect the lesser of either $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value or $2,500 per student (with inflationary increases in future years). For our school district the applicable formula is $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed value. The $1.50 per $1,000 is a significantly lower tax rate than the one we passed in 2014 which was on the ballot for $3.89 per $1,000 of assessed property value. For a more in depth breakdown of Enumclaw School District taxes, we offer this comparison chart.


How will the school district function at this lower local funding level?
The legislature has used other funding mechanisms at the state level (including raising state property taxes decided by their vote) to make up the difference.  When the numbers are finalized we are hoping that the state will provide us with the additional funding we need.  The intent of the McCleary lawsuit (http://www.k12.wa.us/Communications/HotTopics/HotTopic-McCleary.pdf) was to increase funding for public education.  Because of the complexity of these changes, we are still in the process of receiving information about funding levels from our local Puget Sound Educational Service District and OSPI.


How is the levy used?
Levy funds ensure our District’s quality education programs continue in safe, well maintained and clean schools.  Levy dollars provide for support beyond the state allocation for basic education including but not limited to: safety & security, early learning, special education, special programs, transportation, athletics & activities and staff training.


What is the official ballot language?
The official ballot language and Resolution #1068 were approved on November 20, 2017.

The resolution is attached.

When is the election?
Election Day is February 13, 2018.

Voting information from King County Elections website:

“You can vote and return your ballot as soon as you receive it. Returning your ballot early allows time to correct any issues with your signature so we can count your ballot. You can return your ballot by mail or to a ballot drop box.

Ballot drop boxes
Return your ballot to a ballot drop box, no stamp required. Your ballot must be returned to a ballot drop box by 8 p.m. election day. Plan ahead to avoid lines.

By mail
Put a first-class stamp on your ballot and mail it back to us. Your ballot must be postmarked by election day. Don’t wait until the last minute!”


When will ballots be mailed?
We expect that ballots will be mailed January 24, 2018.
(http://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/elections/elections/election-dates.aspx).


Why is the rate less now than it was in the past? Did we actually not need all that money in the past?
Washington State Legislature restructured funding for public education, ultimately lessening the burden for local taxpayers through levies. This money is essential to the operating budget for each of the 295 school districts across the state. This tax is not unique to Enumclaw School District.


What will the district do to continue to lessen the needs for levies in the future?
Our District continues to advocate at the state level for fully funding basic education. This collective effort of school districts led to the reduction of our local tax burden, as stated above.


How has the district saved taxpayers money in the past? Any lean principles applied, waste eliminated, etc?
The board and administration are thoughtful around the tax burden on local patrons. We have the lowest tax burden compared to our surrounding districts (see the chart here).

Examples of lean principles in our District:

  • We implemented an energy grant to change out light bulbs in our buildings leading to district-wide savings
  • Our technology team opted for zero client devices which resulted in the ability to purchase devices for a greater number of students
  • We reduce printing costs by completing and storing work electronically
  • We rely on our current staff’s expertise. One example is reducing the use on outside contractors for technology installations

I understand that levies are basically for operating expenses. Are these subject to the legislatures balancing formula? (question from Facebook)
During the 2017 legislative session, elected officials changed the structure of levies.  Public school districts across our state now go to voters for an amount of $1.50 per $1,000 of property value or $2,500 per student; districts must use the lesser of these two amounts.  The levy funds are used on items beyond what is funded under the state’s Basic Education funding model. Regularly occurring audits are also an element of the legislative requirements.



If our Levy dollars are spent on replacing/adding security cameras, are they going to be viewed daily for all the drug activity with in the middle schools and high school? I think our Levy dollars would be spent better if we had School Resource Officers daily. (question from Facebook)
Levy funds will be used to increase security of our buildings.  This includes the purchase and replacement of security cameras at our schools.  We have found these cameras beneficial for investigations during the school day and into the evenings.  There have been incidences in which our Enumclaw Police Department has viewed and used footage as well.

We acknowledge your input regarding School Resource Officers.  Thanks!



I hear taxes in King County are going up significantly in 2018 to fund education. Why do we need another levy if schools receive more funding from other sources? (question from Facebook)
This levy rate ($1.50 per $1,000 of property value) begins during the calendar year 2019 and concludes at the end of 2022.  School districts need to pass the levy during the 2018 calendar year to collect during 2019.

In 2018, the local tax rate for the levy (that was passed in 2014) will be $3.06 per $1000 assessed property value.  The state legislature passed a law that will increase taxes across our state in 2018.  This was not an increase done at the local level.   For our school district, there will be an overall tax decrease of $.65 -$.75 per $1,000 of property value in 2019 (see answer above).

Like school districts across the state, we have received our local voter’s support to fund our programs and activities.  During the past legislative session, the state is taking more responsibility for the funding of public education, thus the drop in the local levy tax rate.  There are still educational programs and activities that are not funded by the state.  This levy on the February ballot will allow us to keep activities and athletics, transportation, special education, safety and security, early childhood education, and staff training at current levels, which are important to our students and community.


Why do we need a levy when the state legislature and King County are raising our property taxes 17% to cover school funding? Looking at the previous posts am I to believe that Enumclaw just gets an allotted portion and not what comes out of our district? (questions from Facebook)
Part of your question is answered above.  The state taxes will increase at a rate of $.82 per $1,000 assessed value. Our local tax rate will drop to $1.50 per $1,000 assessed value.  In 2019, our patrons will actually see a decrease of education specific taxes between $.65 - $.75 per $1,000 assessed value.  


So my question really starts with what is ESD going to be getting from McCleary. I would like to see a breakdown that states how many Certified Teachers per the law are paid by State, Principals, custodians, Admin staff, counselors, IT staff etc. And an accounting of estimated FTEs for those positions and then whats the delta for the ESD programs. For Example, at the HS you are only paid for a partial FTE for a nurse, but likely have a full time school nurse. So state We are paid for ¼ FTE for a nurse, and our cost is XX.XX to cover the other 3/4 FTE for a full time nurse. Same with paras, additional teaching staff etc... Same with how much are we receiving in Maintenance, Technology dollars. (question from Facebook)
We are actively working on calculations to answer this question.   


Is the $2 million that were taken from the operating fund and moved to 'capital fund' to cover cost overruns at Black Diamond and EHS ever put back / repaid? (question from Facebook)
The general fund budget is one of five budgets managed by a school district.  In the years prior to the bond, our district worked diligently to save money to support construction projects.  In 2015-16, money was transferred from the general fund to the capital budget to support construction projects in our district.  

Does ESD have a link on their website for their budget?

Yes, you can find our budget at http://www.enumclaw.wednet.edu/departments/business/budget_finance/default.aspx.


When does the current levy funding expire? And when will the collection of new levy funds start?The Maintenance and Operations levy passed in 2014 will expire at the end of the 2018 calendar year. The proposed Replacement of Expiring Levy for Educational Programs and Operations levy would begin collection in 2019.


Will these levy dollars be used to GROW the current "enrichment" programs or sustain them at the same level they are at currently?

The money coming from local levies will be collected at a rate less than half of what we have received in the past (approved at $3.89/1000 in 2014; proposed at $1.50/1000 in 2018). With the information we have received at this point from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, it is difficult for us to predict the capacity to grow programs.


How much of an increase in state funding will you see with McCleary dollars?

Based on available tools and estimates from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction for fiscal year 2018-2019, we do not forecast any increase in revenues when taking into account state and local levy dollars together. The increase in state revenues (McCleary dollars) is offset by the decrease of local levy dollars. We expect to receive an amount that is similar to the current funding (2017-2018) from state allocation and levy funds combined.


Will Levy dollars be used to pay Classified and non classified staff salaries?
Levy funds support staffing costs above state allocated funds provided for Basic Education.


Will jobs be lost if the levy measure does not pass?
Roughly 84% of our budget is used for employee related costs. The proposed levy will represent 12% of our total budget. Without levy funding, this would leave only 4% for materials, supplies, and operating costs.


What is the current budget for each enrichment program listed under the levy measure?
The programs listed in our levy measure are funded from a combination of federal, state and local sources. As a result of legislative action in July 2017, school districts will track levy funds separately in future years. To see the budget for current programs, view http://www.enumclaw.wednet.edu/departments/business/budget_finance/default.aspx


How much money is in the district reserves?
Our general fund fluctuates throughout the school year based upon student enrollment and how the state allocates money to school districts. Our adopted budget shows we will end our fiscal year with $3,094,794 in the general fund.


Will monies from this levy be used to pay down or pay off existing loans from previous district expenditures?
No.


Are any of the levy funds slated to be used for improvements to existing school structures?
No.


If this levy Measure fails, will you re run it again in April? August? November?
Yes, the levy will be run again if it receives less than the 50% + 1 required for passage during the February 2018 special election. Our Board of Directors will decide the timeline on future elections.