Last summer, Federal Way Public Schools decided to run a Phase 2 bond for $450 million dollars. Then they told the voters that it wouldn’t cost them any extra tax dollars. So how can FWPS get $450 million without raising taxes? Well, if the Phase 1 bond was payed off, that would cover it, but it’s not. Something had to be ending that would offset the cost to the taxpayer, which is where this gets tricky.
In that same period of time, the Washington state House and Senate worked out a fix to fully fund education. This is called the McCleary decision, which will raise Federal Way’s taxes about $280 on the median house value but reduce the amount of money that FWPS could levy the on people. They limited the levy amount because the state is increasing the amount per student given to the schools.
So with this new money, the levy dollars were reduced so the taxpayers in Federal Way would have paid less in 2018 to the tune of over $2 per $1,000 in assessed property value. This is the only reason the $450 million dollar bond didn’t cost the taxpayer anymore!
What FWPS didn’t tell people was that the McCleary decision was going to raise their taxes. Technically, they could blame the tax hike on the state, not the bond.
At this same time they wanted to pass a new levy, but they knew that the people wouldn’t vote for both, and more than likely they would get the one that cost the taxpayer the least. Instead, they got included in a special election (about $1 million in tax dollars spent to do this) trying to con the people out of another $150 per $100,000 assessed property value! Why, when they are going to get more money from the state?
The levy is not needed, and it will raise taxes in 2018, a lot.
Gary Pina, Federal Way