Levy would replace previous funding for programs and operations

The Ocosta School District is proposing a levy to fund extra curricular activities, athletics and some educational programs that will replace a previous levy of the same nature, according to Ocosta Superintendent Heather Sweet.

Voters within the Ocosta district will see the levy on the Feb. 14 ballot. In a press release, Sweet said the levy is the only proposed tax from the Ocosta district on the ballot.

The levy, should voters approve it, would run for three years at a rate of $1.44 per $1,000 of assessed property value. While tax totals depend on assessed details of each home, a home valued at $200,000, for example, would cost owners $288 per year or $24 per month.

The levy would garner between $1.8 million and $1.9 million each year for the district in 2024, 2025 and 2026.

“We know the tax burden is a challenge, so it was important to us that we keep the rates as predictable and stable as possible,” Sweet said in a press release.

Ocosta is currently running a Capital Projects levy, which pays for building improvements, at a rate of $0.42 per $1,000 of assessed value, but that tax will cease at the end of 2023, lessening the tax burden on property owners, Sweet said.

The current proposal is for an Educational Programs and Operations levy, which supplies funds for school programs not covered by state or federal funding. Calendar year 2023 is the last year of collection for the district’s previous EP&O levy, which voters approved in February 2020.

With the levy expiring, general funds “will be insufficient to permit the district to meet the educational needs of its students and pay expenses of educational programs and operations” not funded by the state, according to the district’s levy resolution.

Ballots will be sent out Jan. 24-25 by the county elections office and must be postmarked or submitted to ballot boxes by Feb. 14 at 8 p.m., according to Sweet.