The Griffin School District will send a Maintenance and Operations Replacement Levy to voters this February 9, 2010. While the levy, described in a flyer distributed by the school district, will produce one of the lowest levy rates among districts seeking voter approval that day, the amount collected represents the highest percentage of those district operating budgets. Our local school district has an excellent track record in the judicious use of property owner’s dollars and I am writing here to encourage my fellow voters to approve the levy.
As reported recently in The Olympian, expected rates for this levy are $1.92 per $1,000 in assessed value in 2011 and $2.11 per $1,000 in assessed value in 2012. The rate is considerably lower than levies asked from North Thurston, Tumwater, Rainier, and Rochester Tenino districts. In 2009, Griffin’s levy collection rate placed it second lowest in school districts county-wide. However, The Olympian is reporting money from all levies represents nearly 24% of the District’s operating budget.
47% of the money collected will go to pay for educational programs and district-wide services including maintaining smaller classes, playground supervision and special education; 42% pays to send our high schoolers to other districts, mainly the Olympia School District; and 11% will go to transportation.
This levy is not a new tax. It replaces or renews the existing maintenance and operations levy, which expires at the end of the 2010 calendar year.
The Olympian reports that “Local districts have made millions of dollars in cuts in the past few years because of cuts in state funding.” This levy will provide important money to our local top-performing school district. Ballots are coming in the mail soon. Once you learn more about this levy request, I think you’ll join me in voting in favor.
– MARK MESSINGER