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Federal Way Public Schools gearing up for levy vote

Federal Way Public Schools - Courtesy Federal Way Public Schools
Federal Way Public Schools
— image credit: Courtesy Federal Way Public Schools

Federal Way Public Schools (FWPS) is gearing up to ask voters to approve a replacement Educational Programs and Operations (EPO) levy early next year.

This EPO levy will be a “replacement” levy, continuing the taxing authority approved by Federal Way voters in February of 2012, when 56.2 percent of voters said yes.

The EPO levies have typically covered between 20-25 percent of the district’s overall budget, and the replacement levy the district is gearing up for will be asking voters to approve $53 million, the same amount as the levy approved in 2012.

“This is a replacement levy, not a tax increase,” said Assistant Superintendent Mark Davidson to the FWPS Board of Directors, during the board’s November 26 meeting. “It pays for about 20 percent now, of our day-to-day educational activities.”

Davidson noted that the district is doing what it has done in recent years, asking for that $53 million because of the always uncertain amount of local effort assistance (LEA) funds which come down from the state. The district anticipates about $9 million in LEA funds in 2014, which means the district would be able to roll back that amount from the EPO levy down the road.

“As you know, the last two years, we’ve been able to roll back (the EPO levy amount) when that levy assistance comes,” he said. “That’s a good thing for our community.”

The levy would cover the years 2015-18. More information will be presented by the district’s financial officer, Sally McLean, at the board’s Dec. 10 meeting.

Board member Tony Moore asked Davidson what the implications would be if the levy doesn’t pass.

“20 percent of our budget is a significant amount…it’s a fifth of what we need,” he said. “I think (it’d be) devastating to an educational community. And frankly, if education is the key to prosperity, as we all believe it is, then it’s devastating for the community as a whole.”

 

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