Why is BISD proposing a renewal of the Enrichment & Operations Levy?
This renewal levy replaces the expiring levy (which voters approved in 2017). The levy used to be known as the Educational Programs & Operations Levy.
While Washington state did approve enhanced funding for K-12 public schools in recent years (known as the McCleary fix), the state still does not provide enough funding to cover the cost of fully educating BISD students.
EXAMPLE: For a district our size, the state believes it is sufficient to employ the equivalent of 0. 561 of a nurse to support our 3,500+ students. BISD believes nurses play an important role in the success of our students and that employing one half-time nurse isn’t sufficient. Instead, we employ 4.561 FTE nurses. Their salaries and benefits are paid from the Enrichment Levy. Another funding discrepancy example is our school counselors. The state says that for a district our size, 7.975 FTE counselors are adequate. In reality, BISD employs 10.10 FTE counselors.
Why is this levy now called an Enrichment & Operations Levy?
The Washington State Legislature approved Engrossed House Bill 2242 in June 2017 which changed how the state funds public education. In the bill, the legislature updated the terminology school districts could use for local levies and changed it from the Educational Programs & Operations Levy to the Enrichment & Operations Levy.
While the name “enrichment” may conjure up the notion of “extras”, BISD’s Enrichment & Operations Levy is crucial in operating our schools. In recent history, BISD has never operated without local levy support.
How much will BISD rely on the renewal of the Enrichment & Operations Levy?
The funds from the levy make up a significant portion of BISD’s annual general fund budget. Out of BISD’s $57,514,000 budget for the 2020-21 school year, 17% of the budget ($9,789,600) is supported by the Enrichment Levy.
What are examples of items paid out of the Enrichment & Operations Levy?
Monies generated from the Enrichment & Operation Levy impacts all areas of BISD programming. Examples include:
- Staffing (which helps maintain lower class sizes)
- Programs to meet student instructional needs such as Special Education, English Language Learners, Remedial Reading & Math
- Specialists such as art, music, STEM and electives
- Extracurricular activities such as athletics and clubs
- Staff Professional Development
- Student transportation
How is the Enrichment & Operations Levy amount determined?
For districts with less than 40,000 full-time students, Enrichment & Operations Levies are capped at the lesser of:
- $2.50 per $1,000 of assessed value or
- $2,500 per full-time equivalent student (which is adjusted by inflation). BISD falls into this category because of the high assessed property values on Bainbridge Island.
What is the term for the Enrichment & Operations Levy?
Typically, BISD puts forth four-year levies. However, given uncertainty regarding how the levy funding laws may change in Washington State, BISD decided to run the Enrichment Levy for a three- year term. This levy will be collected in 2022, 2023 and 2024.
What is the renewal Enrichment & Operations Levy amount?
2022: $10 million
2023: $10.3 million
2024: $10.5 million
What are the proposed tax rates to replace the EP&O Levy with the Enrichment & Operations Levy?
2022: $1.04 per $1,000 assessed value
2023: $1.06 per $1,000 assessed value
2024: $1.07 per $1,000 assessed value
*For reference: In 2020, the BISD’s EP&O levy rate was $1.05 per $1,000 assessed value
I’ve heard reports that BISD enrollment is down. Why do you still need funding from levies?
Compared to the 2019-20 school year, BISD is down approximately 200 students. Of those students, more than 30% are being independently homeschooled and almost 20% transferred to a private school in Kitsap County. We anticipate that many of the students who left during this challenging year will reenroll once our schools return to normal operations. This Enrichment Levy will support BISD in the future — 2022-2024.
It should be noted that thanks to the generosity of the Bainbridge Island Community and its passing of the current levy, BISD was in a good position to cover the unexpected expenses due to COVID-19. Through December 2019, BISD has spent an estimated $958,848 responding to the pandemic.
These expenses include:
- Supplies (cleaning materials, handwashing stations, thermometer kiosks, etc.)
- Personal protective equipment (face masks, safety glasses and gloves, office shields)
- Staff (teams developed plans before the start of the school year, COVID-19 monitors at every school site)
What is the ballot language for the Enrichment & Operations Levy?
BAINBRIDGE ISLAND SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 303
KITSAP COUNTY, WASHINGTON
PROPOSITION NO. 1
RENEWAL ENRICHMENT AND OPERATIONS LEVY
The Board of Directors of Bainbridge Island School District No. 303 approved Resolution No. 03-20-21, concerning the replacement of an expiring school enrichment and operations levy. This proposition provides funding for educational programs and operations not funded by the State. If approved, Proposition 1 will authorize the District to levy the following excess taxes, on all taxable property within the District, as provided in Resolution No. 03-20-21:
Collection Years Approx. Levy Rate per $1,000 AV Levy Amount
2022 $1.04 $10,000,000
2023 $1.06 $10,300,000
2024 $1.07 $10,500,000
Should this proposition be approved?
What happens if the Enrichment & Operations Levy isn’t renewed?
Failure to pass the Enrichment Levy would be catastrophic for BISD. For the 2021-22 school year, we will already need to “right-size” our staffing levels to adjust to our current enrollment. Without the Enrichment Levy, even greater cuts would be required.