Levy Graphics and Explanations
2021 Replacement LevyOur levy has made a profound difference for students by providing what the state doesn’t consider “basic education” like athletics, arts, after school clubs, and other national award-winning programs. This is just a replacement of our existing levy and there is no increase to the estimated tax rate.
Clarification on the Replacement Levy
Replacement levies in Washington State generally include: (1) approval of the ballot title by the county attorney, (2) a reasonably level estimated tax rate for voters, and (3) the ability to maintain the staffing, programs, and services in the prior levy.
Oak Harbor’s proposed replacement levy meets all of these criteria. It is important to know that Washington State requires that its state-mandated cost of living adjustments and benefits apply to all staff, including levy-funded staff. In order to maintain the existing services, the dollars collected each year are adjusted to reflect increased property values, maintaining a level estimated tax rate and sustaining the promised services for students.
These annual dollar amounts are clearly listed by tax year in (1) the mailer sent to every address in Oak Harbor, (2) on our levy webpage, and (3) will be clearly listed on the ballot measure. This is consistent with districts across our state and has been the same with every levy run in Oak Harbor, including those passed regularly by voters over the last 20 years.
Comparing Neighboring Districts
Compared to our neighboring districts, Oak Harbor Public Schools has done more with less. Below is a chart that shows how many dollars per student the district receives from its current levy, levy equalization, and impact aid. Even with those combined three resources, we receive less than Anacortes and South Whidbey. But that hasn't stopped us from being state leaders. Your investment in our students goes a long way!
Graduation Rates During the Levy
In 2012, our graduation rate was just above 75%. Sadly, one out of four of our students did not graduate on-time. Thanks to our community levy support, within four years that rate soared to over 90%. Even with increased graduation standards and more required credits, the Class of 2020 had a nearly 92% on-time graduation rate! The local levy pays for credit retrieval programs, athletics, electives, and after-school clubs and each of these items played an integral part in helping students succeed and graduate OHHS on-time. Thank you, Oak Harbor!
Basic Education FundingWhy do we have a levy? Typically, our district employs 8 full-time nurses to cover 11 school buildings and 5,800 students. Based on our student population, the state formula for "Basic Education" pays .868 for one nurse. Thanks to our levy, we can cover the state-funded nurse's remaining cost and the other seven full-time nurses! As a reminder, this is just a replacement of our existing levy, and there will be no increase to the tax rate.
- This is not a new tax, it replaces the current levy that expires in 2021.
- Collection for this replacement levy begins in 2022 after the current levy expires.
- The Replacement Levy continues our community’s investment in our students and schools.
- The levy provides critical funding for student programs like music, NJROTC, arts, sports, and other activities. It also funds early learning and social-emotional support services and other unfunded mandates not funded by the state.
- The salaries of over 600 staff members are tied to the levy.
- The district will only collect up to the amount approved by voters. If assessed property values go up, we DO NOT receive additional funds.
- The estimated rate per $1,000 of assessed property value is $2.28 for the entire four years. Nearly identical to the levy it’s replacing.
- Levy, Impact Aid, and Levy Equalization equal 14% of the district’s overall budget.
- Levy equalization offers financial support to “property-poor” districts to help bridge the gap. Funding comes from the state, but to receive it you have to pass the levy. No levy = No levy equalization.
Myth vs. Reality
MYTH VS. REALITY
Myth #1 - This isn’t a replacement levy!
Reality - Yes, this is a replacement levy. For it to be called a replacement levy, it needs to meet the following criteria:
- Must replace an expiring levy and not on top of what taxpayers are paying
- Approved by Island County’s Attorney as a “Replacement Levy”
- Provides funding necessary to continue currently levy-supported programs, services and staff
- An increase to cover rising employee and service costs (wages and benefits)
- Maintains a similar estimated tax rate
Myth #2 - You’re going to use this money to replace or build new schools!
Reality - Wrong. Dollars we receive from the levy CANNOT go to new construction or remodeling. A simple way to think of it is levies are for learning and bonds are for building.