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Levy FAQs

Levy Questions and Answers

Send Levy questions to info@portangelesschools.org.  Port Angeles School District staff will answer your questions and post all answers here.

Q: Why are only homeowners taxed for the Levy?  Why can’t everyone be accountable and taxed?

A: From David Knechtel, PASD business director: By statute, it is a property tax, and so, by definition, then, only those who own property pay the tax.  It’s just the way it was originally set up.  That does include business owners who have property, also, by the way.   I imagine, people who rent probably really pay it in a way, as part of the total amount calculated for the rent that an owner makes in order to cover his/her costs plus make a little profit.

Changing the way this is done, would require legislative changes, which may still yet happen, as the state discusses how to fund education.

The authority to levy taxes on property appears implied and governed by ARTICLE VII of our state constitution.  This article is titled “REVENUE AND TAXATION.” RCW 84.52.053 provides more information for school districts, specifically, and references some other statutes pertinent to understanding how it all fits together.

Q: How can I estimate how much I’d pay for the Levy? 

A: Locate your assessed property value. Divide it by $1,000. Next multiply this amount by the estimated tax rate. (For 2018, the tax rate is estimated as $3.30 per $1,000 of assessed property; for 2019, $3.26; for 2020, $3.23; and 2021, $3.20.)

Example:
2018 estimate

$200,000 home / $1,000 x $3.30 = $55 per month; $660 annual

2016 actual
$200,000 home / $1,000 x $3.20 = $53 per month; $640 annual

Q: How do these rates for assessed home values compare to the current rates?

A: In 2016, for the Levy, property owners within the school district are paying $3.20 per $1,000 of value. (fyi, the estimated rate, when the vote was taken in 2015, was $3.26). 

When the Board voted on the Levy resolution for the February 14, 2017 election, the estimated amount was $3.30 per $1,000 for 2018. Since the time of Board approval, Pam Rushton (Clallam County auditor) estimates $3.24 per $1,000. However, we really won’t know the tax rates until the properties are assessed, right before the particular year. 

The amount requested, and voted on, stays the same - $9,100,000 per year for 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Q: What exactly is the levy?

A: A levy is a property tax on real estate that helps finance educational programs and operations of public schools.  The levy specifies an amount to be collected each year.  The February 14, 2017 levy is a replacement levy for one approved in February 2015.  If approved, voters would be renewing the current two-year levy expiring at the end of 2017.

Q: What percentage of the District's budget does the levy represent?

A: When the levy amount is compared to all of the School District’s resources, the requested levy amount represents approximately 22 % of the School District’s total budget. 

Q: What District programs and operations are supported by this levy?

A: Levy dollars will continue to fund reasonably low class sizes, student transportation, athletics, music programs, extracurricular activities, special education, vocational programs, highly capable programs, technology and maintenance. See chart

Q: What are the election requirements?

A: Washington State law requires school levy measures to achieve a majority vote. This means that at least 50% plus one of the votes must be “yes” in order for the measure to pass.

Q: How do I vote?

A: A ballot for the Port Angeles School District February 14, 2017 levy election will be mailed to the homes of registered voters on or around January 25, 2017.  Ballots must be returned by mail or in person to the Clallam County Courthouse by 8:00 p.m. February 14, 2017. 

Q: What is a levy lid?

A: The legislature grants school boards the authority to request local school funds through a levy for up to 28% (the lid) of the total of the district’s state and federal revenues.  Port Angeles School District is requesting approximately 22% on the February 14, 2017 ballot. 

Q: Is the School District requesting additional levy funds?

A: Yes. Due to increasing costs, it is necessary to conservatively raise the requested levy amount. In 2016 and 2017, the levy amounts approved were $8,637,144 and $8,723,516, respectively.

Q: Does an increase in property values mean schools get more money?

A: No. Only an increase in the levy amount means schools get more money. The amount requested, and voted on, stays the same - $9,100,000 per year for 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Q: Why does the Port Angeles School District need levy funds every year?

A: The legislature only funds approximately 68% of what it costs to provide a child’s public education. The balance of the money needed is expected to come from local levies and the federal government.

Q: What if the levy doesn’t pass?

A: A levy failure will mean elimination or reduction of significant levy-supported programs and activities that enrich and support the lives and education of our children. Cutting the budget to fund only the bare minimum would require the reduction of quality teaching staff and support services, and much more.

Q: Can’t the money to do these things be found somewhere else?

A: The levy is the “somewhere else.” Schools are limited by law as to where they can raise the money—the levy is the primary place allowed.

Q: How can I find out more information about my personal property tax history?

A: View Parcel/Tax Search on the Clallam County website to complete a data search for your personal property.

Q: Am I tax exempt?

A: A property tax exemption is available for qualifying seniors and disabled individuals. See the Department of Revenue pamphlet for details at http://dor.wa.gov/docs/Pubs/Prop_Tax/SeniorExempt.pdf.  For additional questions please contact the County Assessor’s office by phone at 360.417.2400 or email web_assessor@co.clallam.wa.us.  

Levy questions, comments and suggestions may be sent via email to: info@portangelesschools.org, or by U.S. Mail to: Superintendent, Port Angeles School District, 216 East Fourth Street, Port Angeles, WA 98362.