The Issaquah School Board took action on three levy measures at the Wednesday, October 11, 2017 school board meeting. The board approved a four-year Educational Programs and Operations levy, a four-year Capital levy, and a one-year Transportation Levy. Like a subscription, voters must approve to renew school levies. The renewal of these levies is critical to allow the District to continue providing a high quality education and meet operational needs. All of the measures on the ballot will be renewals to levies that were approved in 2014 that will have expired by 2018.
State legislation passed in June 2017 increased the amount of state school taxes, but reduced our local levy authority. This legislation was enacted in an attempt to meet the order from the Supreme Court to fully fund basic education. For this reason, the District’s replacement Educational Programs and Operations Levy is less than it was four years ago and represents a tax reduction at the local level.
In 2019, the new state funding model will provide new revenue to the Issaquah School District equal to approximately 3 to 3.5% of our annual budget. However, the state’s ability to pay for its solution beyond 2019 comes with uncertainty and leaves many questions with regard to future funding amounts. Also in question, is the ability of the District to make local decisions about how to direct those funds to meet our students’ needs. The District has put forth levy resolutions that meet our goal of maintaining the high level of service our community expects. The resolutions also require the school board to annually review available funding levels. Should more state money become available, this annual review allows the school board to not collect the full local levy amount authorized and further lower local school taxes.
Your tax bill is a combination of local school, state, and municipal property taxes including transit, emergency services, hospitals, and more. It is also important to remember that property tax bills increase as home and property values go up. The Issaquah School District and the Issaquah School Board do take all of this into consideration. While the State’s portion of your school taxes are increasing, we are reducing the local portion of school taxes for residents of our District. Still, we recognize this will result in an overall increase in property taxes. We believe that the amount of levy dollars we are asking for is aligned with the values of our community and their expectations for a high quality education and excellent schools.