• Levies Help Our District Do More                                                                          Superintendent discusses levies on Open Line KOMW 1-13-23

    • Why Do We Need Levies?

      Local levies are critical to school districts as they cover essential education programs, help with facility maintenance and upgrades, and enrichment opportunities that are not funded by the state. Though we were fortunate to receive ESSER funding to help offset the financial impacts of the pandemic, this one-time funding did not sustain essential programming and staff long-term. The EP&O, Tech, and Capital Improvement Levies fuel our ability to provide students with ongoing equitable opportunities. 

       

      2 year Capital Projects Levy -  Renewal - On the ballot November 7, 2023


      This levy was originally approved by voters in 2017. It levies $400,000 annually to help fund facility improvements such as roofing, flooring, HVAC and other permanent systems. While the district requested a six year levy previously, it is only requesting a two year levy with hopes of sunsetting this after two years to save taxpayer money. The bond that was approved about 20 years ago is currently set to be paid off in December of 2025. The district is hoping to maintain the facilities sufficiently for the next two years until we can propose a new bond that can address some of the larger facility issues in the district. We currently have several roofs that are at the end of their lives, as well as HVAC and other high replacement value items that are in need of being replaced. There are other facility needs such as the football and track area that are also in need of attention in the coming years. This current capital projects levy proposal will replace some needed items, but does not come close to the current long term replacements needed district-wide.Next year the district plans on holding community meetings to show needed improvements and seek input on how best to make these improvements happen while also being financially responsible to our local taxpayers.  

       

      • 4 year EP&O Levy Renewal - Approved by voters in February 2023


        Okanogan voters have a long history of continuously supporting and renewing funding of the EP&O Levy. This was not a new levy.  This levy replaced the previous EP&O levy that Okanogan voters approved in 2019. T current levy passed on February 14, 2023, which allows Okanogan Schools to receive an additional $1.1 million from the state as a fund match (approximately 11% of our annual operating budget.) The EP&O levy funds essential programs and staff beyond what the state provides. 

        What does this levy support?

        1,050 students

        4 school buildings

        18 Athletic programs

        21 non-athletic programs (Theatre, Ski Club, Robotics...)

        Extra-curricular Transportation

        Academic supports: Tutoring, additional counseling services

        Student safety and security

         

        • 6 year - Tech Levy


          Okanogan voters have supported and renewed funding of the Tech Levy in the past. Each of Okanogan's 1,058 students is reliant on using technology every day. The levy ask ensures our students have the tools they need for success. 

          The six-year replacement Tech Levy will ensure support student learning with: 

          Continued Student Technology Access 

          • Increase and refresh student devices 
          • Increase classroom interactive devices
          • Integrate WA Educational Technology Standards 
             

          Teacher Devices and Professional Development 

          • Refresh staff devices (computers and laptops)
          • Provide professional development for technology integration
          • Increase access to interactive devices
             

          Staffing, Infrastructure and Software Maintenance and Upgrades 

          • Two full-time Computer Technicians
          • Maintain reliable technology infrastructure and support
          • Refresh server equipment and systems 
          • Complete cyber, network, and data security updates for safe online environments and to protect against internet attacks 

          Frequently Asked Questions

          • What is a levy?

            A levy is a local property tax collected by school districts to fund the portion of education programs and operations that are not funded by the state. 

          • Is there financial assistance available for property taxes?

            Low-income seniors and people with disabilities, or other circumstances, may qualify for tax reliefexemption, or deferral

          • When is the current election?

            November 7, 2023. Ballots must be postmarked by this date if mailed or returned to a ballot drop box by 8 p.m. on election day. 

          • If I don't want to mail in my ballot, where can I drop it off?

            You can drop off your ballot at the following ballot drop box locations:

            Okanogan County Auditor
            149 3rd Ave
            Okanogan, WA 98840 

            12 Tribes Casino
            28968 US-97
            Omak, WA 98841 

            Omak Police Station
            8 N Ash
            Omak, WA 98841 
             

            Are these new taxes?

            No. These are part of the regular cycle of levies. Voters have continuously approved the EP&O Levy since 1980, the Tech Levy since 2004, and the Capital Projects levy since 2017. We are asking to renew the the Capital Projects Levy.

          • How much will the Capital Projects Levy cost taxpayers? 

            The approximate tax rate of $.86 in 2024 and $.82 in 2025. The rate has been lowered to reflect the higher property values that have been assessed in recent years. The district collects a set amount so the rate changes in order to make sure we only collect the $400,000 each year, no more. As property values increase, the rate decreases. 

             

            What will the EP&O Levy pay for?

            The renewed Educational Programs & Operation (EP&O) Levy will ensure continued funding of education enrichment activities and support that provide equitable opportunities for all students. This levy will impact our ability to provide adequate staffing to support health, safety, student transportation, and instructional positionsall of which also impact our enrichment programs including advanced courses, special education, athletics, English Language Learners, and more. 

          • If passed, how will the renewal EP&O Levy affect my taxes?

          • What happens if the renewal EP&O Levy doesn't pass?

          • What is Local Effort Assistance (LEA)?

          • What is the proposed EP&O renewal collection by year?

          • What will the renewal Tech Levy pay for?

            The renewal Tech Levy will continue to provide students with safe, equitable access to technology, digital tools and resources, and essential learning experiences. Additionally, it will provide student and teacher devices and support, instructional technology training and integration, and ensure a reliable technology infrastructure to include critical equipment and systems maintenance and upgrades.

          • What happens if the renewal Tech Levy does not pass?

          • What is the estimated tax rate of the renewal Tech Levy over six years?

          • What happens if property values increase?

          • Who can I speak with for more information about the proposed levies?