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    Superintendent Message - November 2017

    The Legislature's McCleary Plan: Impacts to Lake Washington School District

    Dr. Traci Pierce, Superintendent

    If you have opened a newsfeed or read a newspaper article lately, you are likely seeing information about the “McCleary Plan” and how this plan relates to local school district funding. There is a lot of information and data being circulated about the McCleary Plan’s impacts to different school districts.

    Each individual school district in the state has a different McCleary Plan story to tell. As we plan for the upcoming February 2018 election, it is important that we provide information to our parents and community members to ensure that you have accurate information, data, and facts about the McCleary Plan impacts to Lake Washington School District.

    What is the McCleary Plan?
    Historically, school districts in Washington state have heavily relied on local levies to fund Basic Education. The Supreme Court ruled that the state was not meeting its constitutional obligation to fully fund Basic Education. This ruling, known as the McCleary decision, resulted in the state legislature’s “McCleary Plan,” which is intended to provide additional funding for Basic Education for all 295 districts in Washington state.

    The McCleary Plan involves increasing state property taxes for education funding and placing limits on the amount of Educational Programs & Operations (EP&O) levy funding that local school districts can collect.

    How do McCleary Plan Limits Impact Lake Washington School District’s EP&O Levy?
    Under the McCleary Plan, the state legislature limits what local school districts can collect through their EP&O levy. Districts can collect either $1.50 per thousand of assessed valuation (AV) or $2500 per student, whichever is less. For Lake Washington, the $2500 per student amount is less.

    Therefore, the legislature has authorized Lake Washington to collect $73.9 million each year through its EP&O Levy:

    $2500 x 29,572 students = $73.9 million

    LWSD is not seeking the full amount authorized by the legislature.While authorized to collect more, Lake Washington is seeking $63.5 million average per year in the February 2018 EP&O Levy.

    This is $41.6 million less than the legislature has authorized for the four-year levy

    The levy amount Lake Washington is seeking equates to $2149 per pupil, which is less than the $2500 per pupil authorized by the legislature.

    Why is Lake Washington Seeking Less than Authorized by the Legislature?
    Lake Washington is expecting additional state funding for Basic Education as part of the McCleary Plan. This additional funding is for Basic Education.

    As part of the McCleary Plan, the legislature has adopted a two-year biennial budget for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years. The McCleary Plan is anticipated to provide an average of $40.5 million per year to Lake Washington in the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years.

    Since LWSD expects to receive an average of $40.5 million (which is $1,370 per pupil) in new state funding in the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years, we are seeking $41.6 million fewer levy dollars than authorized by the legislature.

    The local tax impact of the EP&O Levy is $1.03 per thousand of AV. This represents a $0.23 tax rate decrease from the current $1.26 per thousand of AV.

    Does the Decrease in the Local LWSD Rate Fully Offset the Increase in the State Property Tax Rate?
    Currently, property owners in Washington state pay a state property tax to fund education for all 295 districts in Washington state. As noted above, the legislature’s McCleary Plan involves increasing the state property tax rate to more fully fund Basic Education for all students in Washington state. While the exact impact to individual property owners is not entirely clear, the legislature has indicated that the state rate will increase by approximately $0.82 per thousand of AV.

    LWSD, being mindful of the state increase, is not seeking the full EP&O levy amount authorized by the legislature and is therefore reducing the local LWSD tax rate for its citizens by $0.23 per thousand of AV.As explained above, the legislature has authorized Lake Washington to collect more, but Lake Washington is seeking less due to the anticipated increase in state funding and to do its part in reducing the tax burden of its local citizens.

    Does the McCleary Plan Impact the February 2018 Bond or Capital Projects Levy?
    No. The Bond and the Capital Projects Levy fund items that are not included in the state’s definition of Basic Education and are not funded by the McCleary Plan.

    Where Can I Learn More About What the February 2018 Bond and Levies Will Fund?
    Details about the upcoming LWSD bond and levy measures can be found on the Bond and Levies Fact Sheet posted on our district website.