Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Short and sweet – there are two trains of thought when considering how to mark your ballot that will be arriving in the mail soon. The ballot in question asks you, a patron of the Sunnyside School District, to approve a four-year maintenance and operations levy.
The first consideration, point blank, is to decide if our youngsters deserve every opportunity to excel and succeed in school in order to grow into the productive adults and leaders we all want them to become.
The money being sought, a hair over $2 million annually over a four-year cycle, will help keep the people employed who are trained to mold our youngsters into responsible adults. This new four-year levy money replaces an existing levy that property owners are already paying. This money is also used to augment such things as new textbooks, much needed supplies and teaching materials, updated computer equipment, as well as ensuring that our youths have access to quality fine arts programs (music, art, drama) and extracurricular athletic opportunities.
The second consideration when marking your ballot? A “Yes” vote means you’ll be paying less money in property taxes than if you cast a “No” vote. Sounds too good to be true, we know, but it’s a fact.
Simply put, in 2009 local voters approved a bond. That means you, patrons of the Sunnyside School District, agreed to tax yourselves for two-plus decades, so there would be money to keep the district’s school buildings modern and up-to-date. The school district has been making its yearly payments on that bond with monies generated by the levies the local voters approve every four years. Which means, the property taxes have not had to be raised to generate money to make those bond payments.
If the four-year maintenance and operations levy is not approved, the school district will be forced to raise property taxes to cover those bond payments. The property taxes on a four-year M&O levy are much lower than what would be needed to pay off the construction bond. How much lower? Well, by approving this M&O levy that will be on the ballot, if your home is valued at $150,000, the savings would be approximately $60 each year in property taxes.
There is also a bonus to local residents approving this new four-year M&O levy. The $8 million or so that will be raised through this new voter-approved levy will make the Sunnyside School District eligible to receive another $7.2 million in levy equalization funds from the state of Washington.
Short and sweet – a “YES” vote for this replacement M&O levy keeps our children on track to a rewarding future; and it keeps local property tax assessments at a manageable level. This is an easy decision to make for the patrons of the Sunnyside School District.