Levy: 13 percent of Ocosta school budget on the line

Submitted by Heather Sweet

Ocosta School Superintendent

Ocosta School District residents should be seeing ballots arrive in their mailboxes over the next few days. Auditors for both Grays Harbor and Pacific counties mail ballots at least 18 days before an election. The Ocosta School District is asking its voters to renew their Enrichment Programs and Operations (EP&O) levy on Feb. 11 for three years. If you haven’t received your ballot by next Friday, you need to contact your county auditor’s office for a replacement.

The EP&O levies, formerly called Maintenance and Operations levies, are necessary because state dollars for education are not fully funded for many of the programs and services that parent, students and community members expect of their school systems.

The proposal is not a new tax; however, it replaces the 2017 levy for which collections will be made in 2021, 2022 and 2023. In order to draft a levy proposal a school district must project revenues expenditures and student enrollment for three years into the future. The proposal then goes to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction for approval, then to the county to be placed on the ballot. The levy amounts are based on the district’s best estimate known about financial condition at the time the measure is written. The approximate cost per thousand of the total assessed by a property on Ocosta School District and the amount of money that would be generated each collection are as follows for 2021 $1.94 per for total collection of $1,581,780, for 2022 $1.98 for a total collection of $1,629,750 and for 2023 $2.03 for a total collection of $1, 678,950. Property owners can estimate the amount of taxes that they will pay if the levy is approved by providing a total assessed value of all their property owned in the school district by 1,000 and multiplying the result by the proposed rate per year.

Levy funds are crucial for the district. The EP&O Levy makes approximately 13% of the total school district budget. Levy dollars fund teaching positions, instructional assistants, nursing services, counseling service, instructional materials, technology, reduced class size, after school activities, including all athletic programs, building maintenance and operation costs and other district needs.

This levy is crucial for the district so we can continue to provide our students with great programs and learning opportunities they deserve, and that our community expects of our schools.

A certain amount of flexibility is necessary since school district budgets can be affected by unanticipated events. Unanticipated increases or decreases in enrollment, emergency repair needs, state and/or federal legislation actions that affect school funding are just a few of the factors that could change how district money is actually spent.

Ballots must be received by the county elections no later than Feb. 11, election day. Ballots can also be mailed and must be postmarked by Feb. 11. Remember that postage is no longer required. You may also return your ballot to it a designated ballot drop box by 8 p.m. on election day. In Westport, voters may drop their ballots off on Westport City Hall at 604 N. Montesano St. Pacific County voters can drop their ballots in the ballot drop box at the Pacific County Courthouse, 300 Memorial Drive. If you have any questions or want additional information about the EP&O levy, please contact Superintendent, Heather Sweet at 360-268-9125 or hsweet@ocosta.org. Information is also on the district website www.ocosta.org.

Levy: 13 percent of Ocosta school budget on the line