Board Approves Renewal Levy Rate
In a 3-1 vote, with board member Kim Ashmore not in attendance, the Centralia School District Board of Directors approved a resolution authorizing the district to seek a replacement Educational Programs & Operations (EP & O) levy. The current levy expires at the end of 2020.
The district will seek voter approval of a levy of $2.50 per thousand in assessed value, which is estimated to generate approximately $6.6 million in local revenue for 2021. The current rate for the expiring levy is $1.50. Legislative changes in 2019 allow Centralia to approve a levy up to $2.50 per thousand in assessed value.
With the district’s 2017 construction bond also considered, taxpayers in Centralia currently pay $3.70 per thousand for levy and bond costs. “Because of substantial increases in community property values, our bond rate will fall significantly next year – from $2.20 per thousand to $1.65 or lower,” said Superintendent Mark Davalos. “Even though we are seeking to increase the levy by $1 per thousand, the reduction in the bond rate means the actual increase will only be about 45 cents, for a total of about $4.15 per thousand.”
The district analyzed budget projections, property values, and projected staffing and program needs for several months before choosing to recommend the $2.50 levy for approval by the board. “We don’t ask for as much as we can just because we can,” said Davalos. “We ask for what we need in order to keep the district in good financial health and to maintain important programs the community expects us to provide.”
“We’re grateful for more than 45 years of unbroken levy support from our community,” said Davalos. “Local levy funds give our citizens an opportunity to have some level of control over educational and extracurricular priorities here in Centralia. Our Bond passage and ongoing levy support show that Centralians value education highly.”
Election day is Tuesday, February 11, 2020. “We’ll be sharing a lot of important information with the community between now and then,” said Public Relations Coordinator Ed Petersen. “It’s important to us that our community members are presented with all of the relevant facts about why the local levy is important. We’ll also be using the election process as an education opportunity in our schools.”