Vancouver Public Schools directors voted to place a replacement education and operations levy on the Feb. 14 special election ballot. The current levy is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2023.
According to the district, local levy dollars account for 12.5 percent of Vancouver Public Schools’ annual budget — funding such critical resources as teachers and support staff salary, special education programs, extracurricular activities, textbooks and more.
“We have a commitment to offer each student a quality education, safety, and resources for well-being. We take our responsibility to our students, their families, and of our community seriously,” said superintendent Jeff Snell in a press release Wednesday.
“This community has provided tremendous support for public schools which we greatly appreciate. This support enables us to provide the additional resources and services that help us achieve our goals of healthy students and schools — who in turn really strengthen our Vancouver community,” he said.
If passed, the four-year replacement levy would provide funding through 2027. The district is asking for taxpayers to authorize a tax rate of $1.99 per $1,000 of assessed property value, which would generate approximately $61.7 million in 2024, $65.3 million in 2025, $70 million in 2026 and $75 million in 2027.
Like other nearby districts, Vancouver has relied on a local education levy to help fund the district for decades. Levy passages, however, haven’t been guaranteed for some districts; Evergreen Public Schools saw an initial failure earlier this year, attributing the loss to voter uncertainty with tax measures amid raising inflation and costs of everyday goods. In recent years, school administrators across Clark County have voiced frustration for inadequate state funding models that put pressure on districts to pass supplemental levies to fully fund education.
Voters last approved a supplemental levy in 2020. The combined local levy rate was $2.01 per $1,000 of assessed property value the first year of collection. This renewal levy replaces both expiring levies.