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Bremerton BoE approves levy for February
On Nov. 14, the Bremerton School Board voted to approve a levy that will keep the district in a good spot financially in upcoming years.
After a board study session and two community forums, the school board chose to move forward with placing the maintenance and operations (M&O) levy on the February ballot. The district also sent out a survey to gather parent input. The vote will take place on Feb. 11, 2014.
Wayne Lindberg, director of finance and operations, said that in order to maintain current programs, the board needed to approve a four-year levy to collect around $46 million from taxpayers. The M&O levy is used for a variety of purposes, including in the classrooms, for school support, transportation and more. The levy fills in the gaps for what is not covered by state or federal funds.
The current levy expires in 2014, and the total collection amount is $43 million. While there is a slight increase, it would generate an extra $3 million from 2015 through 2018.
“Unfortunately, it is more, we know that, but at the same time; it is a very minimal cost to educate our children properly,” Lindberg said.
The district does not usually collect the full levy amount due to some homeowners not paying taxes, but gets pretty close, he said. The current levy has an actual collection of $42,779, 333 at the time of the school board meeting.
Lindberg doesn’t expect that homeowners will see a significant increase of property taxes. Currently, property owners pay $3.60 per $1,000 of assessed value toward the levy. Under the new levy, the rate would start at $3.68 per $1,000 of assessed value for the first year. During 2018, the last year of levy collection, the rate is expected to reach $3.83. The goal of the levy is to not cut as deeply into the reserve fund as the district has over the last few years.
“It gives us what we need to not go into debt,” Lindberg said of the levy. Homeowners can expect about a $34 increase a year, which is equivalent to about $3 more a month for an assessed value of a $150,000 home, Lindberg stated.
The district is not seeking the levy lid--the maximum dollar amount that can be collected--for this particular “replacement” levy. If local economy growth occurs, Lindberg said the assessed value goes up and the levy rate could go down.
Board members approved the levy unanimously. The resolution must be then approved by the state and then will go on for approval from the attorney general to ensure its legality. The resolution will be approved by the county to go on the ballot.
“We’re ready to go,” said Bremerton School District Superintendent Aaron Leavell. “We’re excited, as excited as we can be for a levy.”
Leavell said he has “no doubt” that the community will come out in full support of the levy as they have for past levies.
In other news:
The school board approved the acceptance of $3,522 in donations for various schools throughout the district. Some of the donations are for playground equipment, field trips, student enrichment, volleyball programs and more. Per policy 6114, any gift to the district of “real property” can only be accepted via board approval.
A new policy regarding Automated External Defibrillators (AED) was adopted to equip schools with the machine. The policy also indicates that employees and students shall be trained in its use to “save lives in the event of a health emergency, including cardiac arrest.” The board approved for the AEDs to be placed at designated school sites. Starting with the 2013-2014 school year, instruction on the proper use of an AED for cardiopulmonary resuscitation, will be included in at least one health class necessary for graduation, according to the policy. Aaron Leavell will develop procedures for the placement, maintenance and use of AEDs in school.