The Richland School Board has approved the levy amounts which will be presented to voters on February 14:
$19.76 million in 2013 (a 7.7% increase over the 2012 levy of $18.35 million) $20.94 million in 2014 (a 5.9% increase over 2013)
The operations levy allows the District to continue basic programs which are not fully funded by the state including: instructional materials, transportation, extra-curricular activities and utilities expenses. Levy money makes up about 17% of the District's annual operating budget.
"This levy will allow us to maintain our quality programs and maintain a fiscally sound budget," said Superintendent Jim Busey.
The operations levy is not a new tax. It will replace the current levy which expires at the end of 2012. Every two years, District residents are asked to renew the levy.
"We're keeping this levy as low as we can, yet the District will still be able to maintain its excellent educational program," said Rick Jansons, President of the Richland School Board.
If voters choose to renew the levy, the estimated tax rate would go up five cents in 2013, from $3.09 per $1000 of assessed valuation to $3.14 per $1000. Yearly property taxes would increase five dollars on a $100,000 home.
The Benton County Auditor's Office will mail out election ballots to all Richland School District residents around January 26.
The state legislature has reduced Richland School District funding by $9.2 million over the last two years. Only by wisely managing resources has the District been able to weather the storm of the state’s economic woes.
“The state legislature continues to shift the burden of education funding to local taxpayers,” says Superintendent Jim Busey. “What is best for students remains the focus of our decision making, but it is a challenge during these economic times. There is no way to sugar coat this new reality of state funding.”
In response to the state cuts, the District has reduced the number of administrators, refinanced bonds at lower interest rates, and is continually exploring ways to reduce energy, travel and insurance costs. The District has also absorbed some of the state reductions by taking money out of the cash reserve account.
“The Richland School Board’s top priority is improved student learning,” says President Rick Jansons. “We’re trying to put resources into the classroom and cut costs in other areas. We are proactively working with local legislators on school funding issues, and will be asking local citizens for their continued support of the replacement levy this February.”
Superintendent Jim Busey and Levy Committee Chair Justin Raffa discuss the February 14 operations levy with moderator Lloyd Swain of Charter Cable (14 minutes). Charter channel 3 schedule:
Tuesdays 12:30pm / 9:30pm
Wednesdays 2:00pm / 8:00pm
Thursdays 12:30pm / 9:30pm
Saturdays 1:30pm / 7:00pm
Sundays 1:30pm / 7:00pm
The Richland School District will be placing an operations levy before voters in February 2012. The operations levy pays for basic programs which are not fully funded by the state such as updated textbooks, transportation, extra-curricular activities and utilities expenses. Levy money makes up about 17% of the District's operating budget. The operations levy is not a new tax. It will replace the current levy which expires at the end of 2012. Every two years, District residents are asked to renew the levy.
"As the state continues to reduce our funding, the local levy will take on even more significance," explains Superintendent Jim Busey.
Current Assessed Value in District - $5,587,934,885
Current M & O Annual Amounts
Current Levy Limit - 20,188,956