School levies needed? Yes

After reading the Jan. 26 letter to the editor, “School levies needed?,” I did my own research and learned the letter was short on facts and extremely misleading.

Yes, the state is providing more funding to school districts, but it is also capping the funds that districts can raise locally.

In recent community meetings, district staff stated that starting in 2019 local property taxes will go down, and that is absolutely correct. In the current educational operations levy which expires in 2018, the Kent School District (KSD) is collecting $2.77 per thousand dollars of assessed value on a home. In 2019 and beyond, the state has capped that at $1.50/1000 of assessed value. Even if Proposition 1 passes (collecting $44 million in 2019) the school district will collect approximately $23 million less in local property taxes for the operations levy in 2019 than it will collect in 2018.

The statements about pay raises are not only wrong, they are extremely misleading. The letter states that teachers will receive a $10,000 pay raise, administrators a $33,000 pay raise and classified staff a $12,600 pay raise. Wrong. What’s the truth? The state will be contributing more to school employee salaries because the state currently underfunds these salaries. Current salaries are partially paid by the state and partially paid by local levy dollars. The state will now contribute more to the salaries, while local levies will contribute less. This is just one reason why the state has put a cap on what districts can collect from their local levies.

When you read that employees are getting huge raises from these levies, don’t believe it because it is not true. It will be the same, or very similar pay, just a different source.

Were the statements in the letter intentionally misleading or simply in error? We’ll never know. What is important is that voters have the facts when marking their ballots, not misleading information from an uninformed letter to the editor.

– Agda Burchard

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