March 13th, 2018 Supplemental LEvy
It Takes a Lot of Cogs to Keep a Big District Running
The Supplemental Levy is a $14 million-a-year levy that pays for nine instructional days, helps maintain current programs and operations, helps to eliminate deficit budgeting, and restores some of what was previously cut during the recession. All of which and more, were on the cutting board when the state slashed funding to public education during the Great Recession.
What Happened during the Great Recession?
Back in 2009 the began state drastically cutting funding to education. Our district lost a lot, including:
- 14 days; 9 instructional days and 5 teacher in-service days.
- Had to cut district funding for vision and dental insurance for all district employees.
- Increased teacher cost contribution for health insurance.
- Reduced certified staff to 123 below state required staffing levels.
- Reduced administration positions.
- Had to start deficit budgeting.
- Eliminated several levels of athletic teams at high school and middles schools.
- Cut midday Kindergarten bus rides.
- Implemented participation fees for extra curricular and after school programs.
It wasn't until 2012 that a levy was passed to restore 9 instructional days. The district has slowly been restoring certified staff (currently 42 below state required staffing levels). However, the Idaho Legislature still has yet to update the levels of funding for education with the current needs of Idaho's school districts.
What if the Supplemental Levy Fails?
Without the Supplemental Levy the students of West Ada could lose 9 days of school each year until another Supplemental Levy is passed or until the Idaho Legislature fully funds its school districts.
In addition, we could potentially lose teachers across the district, creating larger class sizes and possibly cancelled or reduced class choices in the middle and high schools.
What is a Supplemental Levy?
The supplemental levy is actually more of an operational levy that helps to keep the doors open and compensate for some of the funding not fulfilled by the state. Until the Idaho Legislature starts fully funding Idaho's education system again, the West Ada School District will be forced to go back to the public and ask them to renew the levy every two years.
If this bond and levy pass, won't it raise my tax rate? Nope!
A few things keep the district total levy rate around 3.77, which equates to around $377 per $100,000 of taxable property value. This rate will remain unchanged if the bond measure passes.
- Increases in property values as well as an increase in the number of homes in the area increases the total taxable property value in the district. This helps to decrease the individual financial responsibility of each resident.
- The taxable property value in the area increase by 10% last year.
- The district works to keep the rate consistently around 3.77 so that residents have a steady and dependable rate from year to year.
- Because West Ada is the largest district in Idaho, it has the advantage of keeping a lower tax rate by having more home owners that contribute to the levies.
Due to increasing property value, the tax rate will not change.
Plant Levies provide important repairs and improvements to schools, like new roofs, paint, and expansions, while Supplemental Levies attempt to compensate for funding that was cut by the state.