2017 Bond Information
What is a school bond?
A bond pays for capital projects such as new school construction, renovation, replacement or other school improvements. The district’s voters last approved a 12.8 million dollar school modernization and expansion bond 15 years ago in 2002. The bond paid for the renovation of the Elementary and Middle Schools and added a second floor to the High School.
How is a bond different than a levy?
BOND = Buildings
LEVY = Learning
A bond is used to renovate, replace or repair school building. By law, voters must approve a bond by 60% pus one vote. Bonds, by law, cannot be used to pay for everyday operations.
An educational programs and operations school levy, also referred to as a maintenance levy, helps fund day-to-day learning needs that the state does not fund. This includes textbooks and curricula, professional development, student transportion and building maintenance. Levies also pay for health services, music and art classes, after-school activities, prevention programs, instructional technology, security monitors, education for students with special needs, utilities, insurance and staff salaries such as nurses, K-8 counselors and security personnel. Voters in the La Center Public School District last approved a 3-year maintenance and operations levy in February of 2016. That levy expires at the end of 2019. The 2017 tax rate for the levy is $2.87 per $1000 of assessed value.
Why do we need a bond now?
Our community is growing rapidly and our schools are already overcrowded. The population of La Center has grown from 1805 students in 2002 to 3066 in 2015-16 with no additional facilities—that’s a nearly 70% increase. The opening of the Ilani Casino is expected to exascerbate our overcrowding problems.
The bond in November is intended to build a new school to alleviate the problem.
Do more houses and higher assessed values mean that the school district gets more tax dollars?
No. Unlike other kinds of taxes, school districts cannot collect more than the total amount that voters approve. For example, if voters approve a bond for 80 million dollars, then the county treasurer will only collect the amount needed to make the principal and interest payments on the bond each year. This amount is divided by the total assessed value of all property in the district to create the tax rate for the year. If additional houses are built that increase the total assessed value within the district, the new poperty owners help pay the total principal and interest payments, lowering the tax payment taken from each propery owner. A good analogy is homeowners sharing in the cost of putting in a neighborhood pool. If it costs $1000 to buid the pool and there are 5 homeowners, then each would pay $200. But if 10 homeowners contribute to the cost of the pool, then each pays $100. Only the total amount of the pool is collected.
Where can I learn more abot voter registration?
Clark County voter registration information is online at: https://www.clark.wa.gov/elections/voters
Are some homeowners exempt from paying a new tax?
Some senior and disabled homeowners may be eligible for an exemption based on income. Please call the Clark County Assessor’s Office at (360) 397-2391.
What does the state contribute to the cost of the new school?
The estimated total costs of all projects being funded by the bond is XXXXX million dollars. Due to the length of time since we’ve passed a bond (15 years) and the level of overcrowding we are already experiencing, we are eligible for a significant funding through the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction’s (OSPI) School Construction Assistance Program (SCAP). Currently, we are eligible for 67.24% in SCAP funds.
An important caveat applies: State funding is only available if the bond is approved by the voter and a bond is issued.
What will the Bond Cost?
The projected local tax rate for the bond is X centers per $1000 of current assessed value. This tax would be in addition to the current district taxes. The 2017 tax rate per $1000 of assessed value for the district is $X, which includes both previous construction bonds and the Maintenance and operations levy. You can use the levy calculator on this page to estimate the total cost increase to your household.
What about impact fees? Doesn't the School District get money from developers for new homes in the district?
The county collects $XX for each single-family home that is built in the district. The amount that can be collected is determined by a state formula and then approved by the municipality where the home is located. These funds can only be used by th school distrcit to exapnd school capacity. The school district can usually accommodate growth in the short-term by installing modular buildings, but we’re out of room to place them on the current La Center Schools Campuses.
Why are new schools full as soon as they are built and open? Doesn't the school district provide space for growth in new buildings?
To qualify for construction assistance from the state, districts are only allowed to build the square footage necessary to accomodate the number of students in the district at the time the bonds are issued. To maximize state assistance in the contruction of new schools, La Center Public Schools includes space for modular buidlings in its site plans so those can be purchased and installed when needed to accommodate growing enrollments.
How can I learn more about this proposal and the Long-Range Facilities Plan?
Please feel free to contact the district office for additional information by calling 360-263-2131 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with your question.