Educational Programs and Operations (EP&O) Levy
For more than 30 years, the Valley community has invested in their schools by approving a local levy, which supports school programs and services that the state does not fund or fully fund as part of Basic Education Apportionment (BEA). Historically, passage of the local levy has ensured the district also receives additional revenue from the state for levy equalization, called Local Effort Assistance (LEA funds). The combination of levy funds and LEA funds have a significant impact on the school district's annual budget and ability to provide services such as preschool and daycare, full-time counselors, and academic enrichment programs.
What is an EPO levy?
Basic Education Apportionment (BEA) funding does not cover all the actual costs to operate a school district; local levies bridge the gap. The EP&O levy is a way for our community to provide support for basic educational needs and a well-rounded education for our students.
What is levy equalization?
Local effort assistance (LEA) is state matching money provided to districts that have passed local EP&O levies and that have below average assessed property valuations. Because property valuations between districts vary so widely, the state provides these "levy equalization" funds to enhance equity to locally determined enrichment programs and services for students in districts where property values are low. Districts must pass a local levy in order to be eligible to receive LEA funding.
What does the EP&O levy fund?
The EP&O levy (in combination with LEA funds) supports nearly every area of students' day-to-day education:
- Valley Early Learning Center (preschool, daycare, and after school care)
- Full-time counselors (academic, social and emotional supports)
- Enrichment programs such as art, music, drama, and field trips
- Teachers needed to maintain smaller class sizes
- Support staff: librarian, paraeducators to assist in classrooms, lunchrooms, hallways and playgrounds
- District nurse to meet students' basic health needs
- Athletics/extracurricular sports programs
- Textbooks and teaching materials
- Facility staff/custodians for building maintenance, repairs, and upgrades
- Technology and security enhancements
What are current levy rates?
The Valley School District levy is one of the lower rates in the region, both when measured against other districts in the county compared to the county average and when compared to districts with similar property values in the state. The current four-year levy funding cycle ends in December 2022. In 2022, the levy is generating $152,000 in local funds at a tax rate of approximately $0.93 per $1000 of assessed property value, with the state providing approximately $1,160,000 in matching LEA funds. In other words, for each dollar ($1.00) of levy funds the community provides, the state will provide another $7.64 to the district.
The funding combination of Valley's levy and state local effort assistance is an important element of the district's annual budget. Without local support and passage of a levy, the district would lose a significant amount of funding each year, resulting in cuts to district programs and staffing that will undoubtedly affect the quality of our students' educational experience.
You may be exempt. Senior and disabled citizens who meet certain income requirements may be exempt from part or all of local school levy taxes. For more information, or to find out if you qualify for a property tax exemption, please contact the Stevens County Assessor's Office at (509) 684-6161.
Current Four-Year Replacement Levy
*Levy amounts do not change. The estimated tax rates could change if assessed property values change more or less than estimates.