What will LWSD measures really cost? | Letter

Should taxpayers be prepared to open their pocketbooks for an increase in local and state school taxes in 2019 and beyond?

I find it of interest reading the information in the Lake Washington School District website (www.lwsd.org) and the Kirkland Reporter opinion letters regarding the upcoming vote on the 2018 school bond and levies. In particular the statements regarding the levy tax rate and the lack of disclosure as to the cost impact to homeowners. Besides the levy tax rate, the other cost factor is the ever-increasing property assessed values. It would add clarity if LWSD provided an example in dollars using the projected average assessed value of a home as it relates to the 2018 bond and levy request.

The total tax rate for all three measures will be reduced from the current amount of $3.16 per $1,000 of assessed value to $2.93 per $1,000 of assessed value or a decline of $0.23. However, under Proposition 1 (Programs and Operation Levy), significant costs in the existing LWSD programs and operation levy expiring in 2018 will be paid by property owners under the McCleary plan through state school property taxes (reference LWSD website for information on McCleary). The McCleary impact on LWSD property owners is an additional tax of $0.82 per $1,000. Including the LWSD school request, plus the McCleary plan impact, the combined increase in the levy tax rate is $0.59 for a total tax levy rate of $3.75 per $1,000 assessed value an increase of 18.6 percent over the current rate.

Proposition 1 costs are going up significantly, which are not being funded under McCleary. The control of program and classroom cost is questionable given the demands of the employee unions for annual COLA, salary/wage step up and generous benefit increases.

Proposition 2 (Replacement Capital Projects Levy) costs are increasing $19.8 million over the expiring 2018 levy. Property owners will see an increase in their cost of this levy due to higher property assessed values even though the levy tax rate is not changing.

Proposition 3 (bond for new schools and classrooms) funds a new $299 million bond issue, the second of four planned issues with the first totaling $398 million voter approved in 2016. Property owners will see an increase in their cost of this issue due to higher property assessed values even though the levy tax rate remains unchanged.

While I support good schools, which benefit all property owners and school students, be prepared to open your pocketbook for a substantial increase in local and state school taxes in 2019 and beyond.

Douglas Sollitt,

Kirkland

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