Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Maintenance & Operations Levy?
The Replacement Maintenance & Operations Levy is a local property tax authorized by voters to be used for educational and operational costs of the school district.
Washington State funds less than what is needed to run the general operating budget for Colville School District. The Maintenance & Operations Levy provides 20 percent of funding when combined with state Levy Equalization Assistance (LEA) funding. The remaining funding for school district programs comes from the federal government and other categories.
What does the M&O levy pay for?
This money fills the gap between state basic education funding and the current educational program needs. Among the items it helps pay for are:
• Additional staff beyond those funded by the state (smaller class sizes)
• Teacher planning and preparation time
• Instructional materials and textbooks
• Technology hardware and software items, such as replacing outdated desktop and laptop computers
• Transportation costs not funded by the state
• Safety and security, facility maintenance and operation
• Music programs
• Extracurricular activities and athletics
How did the district determine how much to ask for?
Colville School District information from open public forums, input forms, budget prioritization meetings, phone calls, and surveys, along with state and federal requirements and laws, as well as recommendations from the Community Input Group (LEAD Committee) as to an amount that they believe is needed and the community would support. This proposed levy adequately 1) meets learning needs in student achievement, 2) maintains safe and healthy facilities, and 3) provides student programs that enhance learning, living, and contributing as world citizens. The school board accepted the Community Input Group’s recommendation and decided to run a $2,690,000 levy.
Can we ask for more money in the M & O levy?
The district is limited by the state to request a total amount that is no more than 28 percent of the funding it receives through specific state and federal programs. This levy asks for only half of this state limited amount for general operations. Although the district can ask the voters for 28 percent, we are asking the community to support a $2,690,000 levy, which is only 14.1 percent of what we are allowed to ask. With passing this levy we would also qualify for levy equalization moneys in the amount of approximately $1,100,000.
Why is this called a “Replacement M & O Levy”?
The ballot measure is titled a “replacement” levy because this is not a new tax request. Instead, this measure is asking voters to continue the four-year educational program levy they approved in 2010.
What is State Levy Equalization Assistance (LEA)?
The total value of all taxable property within the school district is called its “assessed value.” The lower the overall assessed property value in a school district, the higher the property tax rate. Levy equalization is an adjustment made by the state to level the playing field across the state and reduce the greater tax burden on property owners within school districts that have a lower average assessed valuation than the statewide average – the situation here in Colville.
Does Colville School District benefit from Levy Equalization Assistance funding?
Yes. The school district receives this state funding because it is considered a “property poor” district – a district with a high tax rate due to low assessed property values. In other words, the tax rate required in Colville to generate local levy dollars per student is higher than the statewide average tax rate needed to generate the same revenue.
What will happen if the Replacement Levy does not pass?
The operating budget for Colville School District would need to be reduced by 20% of the budget. The full impact would take place over two years because tax collection (January through December) does not coincide with the school budget year (September through August). Primary funding will be targeted to student learning, instructional needs, maintenance and operations.