Levies are for Learning!
Our Board of Directors has approved a replacement levy election for the February 11, 2020 ballot (click here to read the full resolution). The current levy expires at the end of 2020. Here are some important facts:
- The levy rate is increasing to $2.50 per $1,000 in assessed property value. (The district's bond rate will fall to $1.65 per $1,000, resulting in a net tax increase of 45 cents per $1,000, possibly less). This is lower than the 7-year average of $2.66
- The replacement levy will generate about $6.6 million in local revenue in 2021.
- Levy funds cannot be used for basic education. They may only be used for enhancements beyond what the state's basic education funding model provides.
- This is not a new tax, this is a replacement of the current levy which expires in 2020.
- Levy funds impact nearly every program in our district from athletics to academics. We are able to provide full-time school counselors, nursing staff, athletic options, extended learning programs, additional classroom support and much more because of levy funds.
- Our levy helps us keep class sizes comparatively low. Our levy helps us provide behavioral support in our schools.
- Our levy helps purchase, maintain, and replace important classroom technology resources.
- SENIOR EXEMPTION: If you are 61 years old or older, with disposable household income under $40,000 per year, you may qualify for an exemption from this tax. Please contact the Lewis County Auditor at (360)740-1392
Washington’s education funding model leaves a gap between what the state funds for education and what our students in Centralia need for success. Local school levies are voter-approved sources of funding that are on the ballot every 2-4 years. We collect local levy revenue through a tax on properties in our school district boundaries. The current rate per $1,000 in property value is $1.50, which was the current legal maximum for our district during the last election cycle.
Voters approved the current CSD Enhancements & Operations levy in February 2018. The state has raised the limit on local levies to $2.50 per $1,000 in property value, however the district receives no additional funding unless voters approve a new levy at a higher rate.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is this a new tax?
No. Centralia property owners have been paying local school levy taxes for more than 45 years.
Why do we vote on levies so frequently?
Local school levies expire. The duration of a levy generally most commonly ranges from two to four years. School districts ask voters to renew their levies as they approach their expiration date.
When does the current EP&O levy expire?
At the end of 2020.
How much will the replacement levy cost?
The rate of the proposed replacement levy is $2.50 per $1,000 in assessed value. The median home value in Centralia is $197,500. The levy tax for a home at the median value will be $493.75 per year, or about $41.15 per month.
What do levy funds pay for?
Levy funds can only be used for enhancement and programs that are not defined as basic education. This includes (but is not limited to):
- Special Education
- Additional staff (such as counselors, additional teachers to reduce class sizes, paraeducators, etc.)
- Music and arts programs
- Facility Maintenance
- Student transportation
- Staff professional development
- Food service
- Technology purchases, maintenance, and replacement
How much of the district's annual budget is made up of levy funds?
In the current school year, about 6.6% of our budget is EP&O levy funds.
Where can I learn more about the current and historical taxes for my property?
The Lewis County Assessor's office offers a parcel search service where you can find this information.
Didn't the McCleary ruling and subsequent legislation "fully fund" education?
No. The McCleary ruling only involved the way the state funds basic education. It did not impact special education or anything else not defined as basic education.
I'm a senior citizen or disabled. Do I have to pay this tax?
Certain senior citizens or disabled persons may qualify for an exemption from school levy taxes. Please contact the Lewis County Assessor's office.
Our current EP&O levy is $1.50 per $1,000. Why is it going up?
State legislation in 2017 forced districts to lower their local levy rates. The impact of that legislation left districts struggling to continue to provide levy-funded programs and services their voters asked for. From 2013 through the current year, our average levy rate per $1,000 in Centralia has been $2.66.
In 2019, the legislature took action to remedy the situation caused by their McCleary fix. Districts can now seek local levies at a rate of $2.50 per $1.000 in assessed value. Our Board of Directors deliberated carefully before deciding to seek a replacement levy that restores funding for important programs and services in our district.
Please email additional questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360-330-7600.
Download any of our levy informational materials by clicking on the file name.
Register to Vote!
You must be legally registered to vote in a school levy election. Washington State makes it easy to register online, by mail, or in person (at a county elections office). Click here to register to vote...