Arlington School Board maintains level tax rate for 2020

Arlington School Board maintains level tax rate for 2020
2019 BudgetAt its Nov. 25 meeting, the Arlington Public Schools Board of Directors voted to maintain the current Educational Programs and Operations (EP&O) Levy tax rate at $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed value for 2020. The board is required to certify the tax amount to Snohomish County each year in November. This is the last year of the four-year EP&O Levy approved by Arlington voters in 2016, which authorized amounts of $3.56 per $1,000 of assessed value.

In 2018 and 2019, state law capped school district local operating levies at $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed value. A new law passed in 2019 allowed school boards to levy up to $2.50 per $1,000 of assessed value for operating levies. The Arlington School Board chose to keep the rate at the $1.50 amount.

“This is the taxpayer’s money and we don’t want to collect more than we absolutely need to fund our daily operations to support student learning,” said Arlington Public Schools Superintendent, Dr. Chrys Sweeting. “It’s important to the board that we are good stewards of the district’s resources.”

“While the state did increase funding to districts this year, it was not enough to fully sustain the daily operations of the district,” said Executive Director of Financial Services, Gina Zeutenhorst. “This is why local tax money is still critical. We need these funds to cover the difference.”

Voter-approved local taxes support 9% of Arlington Public Schools’ annual operating budget. These funds pay for crucial day-to-day operations not funded by the state including teachers, paraeducators, counselors, nurses, and other staff who support Arlington students.

The current EP&O Levy expires at the end of 2020. Voters will consider a new four-year EP&O Levy on Feb. 11, 2020.