Election day is less than one week away, and I wanted to address one of the most common questions I receive about the bond: what is the financial impact?

With past levies and bonds, it’s been easier to explain to voters what will happen with their property tax rate.  Due to the new changes happening at the state level, it has become a more complicated story to tell.

What I can tell you is that our LOCAL school tax rates will not go up; in fact they will decrease. In 2017, our local school tax rate was $4.81 per $1,000 assessed value. In 2018, it will decrease to $4.54, and in 2019, it will decrease further to $3.75.

This is possible because of a number of actions, including:

  • refinancing bonds and paying off debt;
  • expiring school bus levy in 2018;
  • planning for the technology levy to be higher in the first years (2017, 2018) for purchasing student devices, with the rate dropping in later years; and
  • planning by the state to reduce allowable local levy collection in 2019.

The complication is the state. Homeowners may see an increase in their overall property tax bill this year to pay for the state’s education levy. This is separate from local school district levies and other services supported by property taxes. The state levy is a result of new legislation in Olympia that aims to provide ample funding to all K12 schools, according to the McCleary decision, which is a 2012 state Supreme Court order that found the state’s school funding system unconstitutional.

The state tax increase will go toward overall funding for education and will help even out disparities between rich and poor districts by shifting some of the tax burden away from local levies.

I realize this is confusing, and I’m happy to talk with anyone if they want more information or feel free to comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!