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Supporters campaign for school levy

After more than a month of campaigning and sign waving by proponents, voters will hit the polls Feb. 5 to decide the fate of Federal Way Public Schools’ $49.4 million maintenance and operations levy.

According to the district, residents have approved operating levy requests every two years since 1980.

The last time the district ran a levy, in 2000, it initially failed by 49 votes. It passed by 68 percent the second time the district ran it.

District officials estimated the rate would be $3.03 per $1,000 of assessed property value in 2001 and $3.02 in 2002, but it ended up being $2.97 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

On Feb. 5, voters will decide whether to continue that levy into 2003 and 2004. Though the levy amount is almost $5 million more, the rate is expected to stay the same at $2.97 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

If approved, the levy amounts can’t be increased, even if property values increase. School districts ask for a set dollar amount in a levy proposal, unlike most other taxing agencies that ask for a rate. Once the school levy amount is voter-approved, that is how much is collected.

Levy break down:

• 37 percent, certificated staff, including 90 classroom teachers.

• 31 percent, classified staff, such as secretaries, custodians and classroom assistants.

• 8 percent, literacy training for teachers and other staff to help them identify reading difficulties and methods to teach children.

• 8 percent, transportation.

• 7 percent, student activities, like music and athletics.

• 7 percent, additional supplies and materials, like parent newsletters, cleaning supplies and books.

• 2 percent to compensate principals and administrators above the base state amount of $46,500.

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