Is it a ‘cost’ or is it really an investment in our future?
Costs can be looked at in various ways. A common saying is you get what you pay for. That holds true in so many ways. A corollary to that would be if you don’t pay for it you don’t get it.
Elsewhere on this website, we make reference to the number of employees that this levy funds provide. They are numbers, but what they do is important. The 69 teachers and other certified positions are spread out in over 500 classrooms in 14 schools. They are teaching sections of classes that aren’t covered by regular state funding. They include math and literacy coaches within schools who help incorporate effective practice in their content area. Some are school psychologists not funded by special education funding from the state. Some are behavioral interventionists at the elementary level. Some extend the library services beyond what the state funds. The same holds true for the 65 school support employees.
What is the cost to me in my taxes? A Balanced Approach
Locally voted school tax collections will decrease overall. The EP&O levy collection amounts are structured to slightly increase to keep pace with rising expenses; however, tax collections for the 2022 Capital Projects and Technology levy are decreasing during the same time period. As a result, total locally voted school tax collections will decrease and remain less than previous years.
What is the cost if I vote no? That is pretty simple. Students loose. They move on to the next grade much less prepared. Around 80% of our students are coming out of the issues related to remote learning during COVID. Significantly fewer teachers and support personal will result in larger class sizes and less intervention for students that need the extra assistance. There will be fewer counselors and mental health personnel to meet students’ social and emotional needs…which significantly increased during the COVID period. Significant cuts to sports programs, clubs, performing arts and other student activities as they are not funded by the state. Reduced classroom materials, supplies, and curriculum updates. Less funding for security, facility maintenance and custodial services. Moving forward to a time where an Education Programs and Operations levy would be approved it takes years to recover from the period where funds weren’t available.
How does Longview compare to other districts?
First it should be noted not every school district has the same needs at the same time.
2023 Regional Tax Rate Comparison per $1,000 of Assessed Property Value (includes all locally voted school district levies and bonds):
- Longview Public Schools: $2.79
- Cowlitz County School District Average: $2.82
- Clark County School District Average: $3.01
Can I get tax relief?
- Low income seniors and disabled adults may qualify for tax exemptions. The qualifying applicant receives a reduction in the amount of property taxes due. The amount of the reduction is based on the applicant’s income, the value of the residence, and the local levy rates. Please contact the Cowlitz County Assessor’s office for more information. In Cowlitz County, total household income in 2023 must be $54,000 or less