As of Wednesday, January 20, 2016
DAILY SUN NEWS EDITORIAL
The obvious choice is “yes” when it comes to the Sunnyside School District levy ballot headed to our mailboxes this week.
The Feb. 9 ballot in question asks you, a resident and taxpayer in the School District, to approve a four-year, $2.58 million maintenance and operations levy. As the name suggests, the levy covers basic maintenance and operations of Sunnyside schools, everything from books to keeping the lights on.
That in itself makes for a compelling argument for approving the levy for another four years.
But here’s another: Our taxes will actually go up if we don’t approve the levy.
If the levy passes, the rate per $1,000 of assessed property value will be $2.08. If the levy fails, the rate will be $2.22. That’s because for nearly 20 years the district has allocated levy money to pay off existing bond debt.
In 2009, local voters approved a bond to be paid over two-plus decades, so there are funds to modernize school buildings. Rather than collect both a bond rate and a levy tax, the district promises voters it will only collect one.
Since that first levy nearly 20 years ago, the district has kept its promise and paid school bonds passed by voters using monies from the general fund.
Simply put, voting against the levy means we will have to pay the higher bond rate.
A third incentive to voting “yes” is the nearly $11 million raised through the levy makes the School District eligible to receive another $8.3 million in equalization funds from the state. In turn, levy equalization funds make it possible for the district to make those bond payments, allowing us to pay only the levy.
Simply put, a “yes” vote for this replacement maintenance and operations levy keeps our children on track to a rewarding future. And it keeps local property tax assessments at a manageable level.