With ballots in the mail this week, the Edmonds School District is asking voters to support a measure this February that, if approved, would continue funding various staff positions and school programs.
Last November, the Edmonds School District Board of Directors voted to include the levy on the Feb. 8 ballot. The measure would be a replacement of the existing educational programs and operations levy.
According to district staff, the proposed levy aims to bridge the gap and cover costs for staff and programs at all schools that are not fully funded by state or federal dollars. Superintendent Gustavo Balderas said the levy is the second-largest revenue source for the district and makes up about 15% of the budgeted general fund. If approved, it would renew funding for four years, through 2026.
“This levy allows the school district to continue to offer high-quality education and provide exceptional opportunities to all students so they can be lifelong learners and responsible world citizens,” Balderas said.
The proposed levy would renew the expiring levy of $1.49 per $1,000 of assessed property value that voters approved in 2018. District leaders have stressed that the levy is not a new tax and would maintain a consistent tax rate of $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value as part of taxes to be collected beginning in 2023. If the levy does not pass, district officials have said it could mean significant reductions in staff, programs and services for students.
If approved by voters, the levy would fund several staffing positions including school nurses, counselors, teaching assistants, technical support staff and custodians. For example, an informational video posted online Friday explained that the district receives enough state funding to pay for three school nurses, while the levy covers the cost of approximately 13 nurses.
The levy would also pay for elective programs and enrichment classes and programs like STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), International Baccalaureate, Highly Capable, College in the High School and advanced placement courses. Extracurricular programs such as art, drama, music and sports are also funded through the levy.
The replacement levy requires a simple majority for passage.
–By Cody Sexton