Reasons to vote NO on the Kent SD's enrichment levy on the November 2023 ballot
As a result of the McCleary Decision, local school district tax area property taxpayers are paying for dramatically increased State School Part 1 and Part 2 property taxes - all of which (100%) gets routed to the local school district. Since those 2 State School property tax categories all go to this school district, those in combination with the other local school property tax categories on your property tax bill makes for about 58% of your 2023 property taxes goes to this school district. And the sad part is that is not enough. The State needs to send even more (2 times more than what the State receives from area property taxpayers) to this district primarily from State Sales Taxes gathered from State Sales Tax taxpayers.
School districts all received a large influx of the McCleary funds. Districts just quickly spent it all – on themselves. And now they want even more.
Note that renters generally pay about 1.5 months of rent to pay just for the property taxes for the year on their rental unit. Property taxes also affect business owners – driving their prices to customers up.
Also, the Federal Reserve is desperately trying to tame inflation and cool the economy down by raising interest rates. Regular citizens are responding by being even more frugal than they were and are curtailing spending. Government entities, including school districts, need to do the same. As of the 2021-2022 school year, the Kent SD is spending $20,000 per student per year including capital outlays and interest on debt.
Taxes for this proposed November 2023 tax measure, if passed, would not start to be collected until the 2025 tax year. The district is starting a year too early. This tax measure should not even be on the ballot until 2024. A lot can happen in a year including enrollments, district administrators and school board member changes - not to mention the economy.
The district is calling this measure by the old term of "Educational Programs and Operations Levy." Post McCleary, it is supposed to be called an "Enrichment Levy." And it is supposed to be used for student enrichment programs only - not salary enrichment. These "Enrichment" levies are leading us towards McCleary 2.0
Note that WA public charter schools do not run school district bonds nor school district levies. They stay on a frugal budget.
Per pupil expenditures (PPE) including capital outlays and interest on debt, student academic performance comparisons with districts with similar demographics, and median total compensations (including cash, pension funding, and benefits) for staff can be found at the following link:
An analysis of the district’s cost analysis
See the image with the red border. This snapshot is from the district's public website.
The Kent SD’s cost analysis is an example of not providing a cost analysis.
There are 2 levies on the ballot for the Kent SD.
The one is an Enrichment Levy that is incorrectly named an EP&O Levy.
That one is for a total $247,600,000 to local taxpayers over 3 years from 2025 to 2027.
The tax obligation for the owner of a property with an assessed value (AV) as of 2023 of $500,000 would be $2906 or an annual average $969 for 3 years (2025, 2026, 2027).
The next levy is a Capital Levy.
The total cost to local taxpayers would be $219,400,000 over 4 years from 2024 through 2027.
The tax obligation for the owner of a property with an assessed value (AV) as of 2023 of $500,000 would be $2576 or an annual average $644 for 4 years (2024, 2025, 2026, 2027).
Please see the link below for the interactive calculator.