EPO Levy Info

Education Programs and Operations (EPO) Levy FAQs



What is a levy?

Levy monies fund basic education services and day-to-day operating expenses that are not fully paid for by the State such as music, arts, athletics, career-technical education, and smaller class sizes. An easy way to differentiate between a levy and a bond is, "levy = learning, bond = building."


Is this levy new?

This levy will replace the current Maintenance and Operations levy that expires on December 31, 2020. 


What is State Levy Equalization Assistance (LEA)?

LEA is a state taxpayer equity program. The total value of all taxable property within the school district is called its “assessed value.” The lower the overall assessed property in a school district, the higher the property tax rate. Levy equalization is an adjustment made by the state to level the playing field across the state and reduce the greater tax burden on property owners within school districts that have a lower average assessed valuation than the statewide average, as is the case with Omak.


Does Omak School District benefit from LEA funding?

Yes. The school district receives this state funding because it is considered a “property poor” district – a district with a higher tax rate due to low assessed property values. In other words, the tax rate required in Omak to generate local levy dollars per student is higher than the statewide average tax rate needed to generate the same revenue. (See the Washington State Department of Revenue's info-graphic in the documents below) 

 

Is LEA funding also dependent on passage of the ballot measure?

Yes. LEA is sometimes described as a matching process because it depends upon passage of the local levy and continued funding by the state legislature.



What happens if the levy fails to renew?

The district would lose approximately $1,175,719 in funds generated locally as well as an estimated $7,894,054.00 in Local Effort Assistance (LEA) matched funds from the State in the year 2021. This will heavily impact arts, vocational-technical programs, smaller class sizes, athletics, and more.

NOTE: The replacement Educational Programs and Operations Levy required 50% of votes + 1 “yes” vote to pass.



What will the levy rates be?

The proposed levy rate is $1.75 per $1,000 of assessed property value. The current levy rate that expires on December 31, 2020 is $1.59.

To calculate property tax, multiply your assessed property value by the proposed levy rate*:

Assessed Value     150 (150,000 divided by 1,000)
x Levy Rate            x $1.75
Est. Taxes =          $262.50 annually

*Example used is for property worth an estimated $150,000.



How do the levy rates compare to the current levy rate?

The current levy collection rate is $1.49 (voters approved $1.59). The proposed levy rate of $1.75 would increase the collected amount by approximately $39 annually.



When will levy collection begin?

Collection for the levy will be begin January 1, 2021 and would run until 2024. Official ballots will be mailed to voters on or around January 21, 2020. Ballots must be postmarked no later than February 11, 2020 or returned to a designated ballot drop box by 8:00 PM on February 11, 2020.



Where will the locally collected levy funds (approx. $1,175,719) be distributed ?

  • 10% towards classroom instruction: Focuses on continued rigorous programs for all students by providing low student teacher ratios, meaningful professional development, and advanced placement classes.

  • 9% towards instructional technology: Continued support of classroom instruction.

  • 7% towards curriculumContinued support of classroom instructional materials.

  • 10% towards support programsBuildings, grounds, maintenance, transportation, and food services.

  • 64% towards extra-curricular activitiesSupport 20 athletic and over 25 non-athletic programs.

Spending Allocation

Why is this called a “Replacement Educational Programs and Operations Levy?”

The ballot measure is titled a “replacement” levy because this is not a new tax request. Instead, this measure asks voters to continue the levy they currently have approved.



How long will the Educational Programs and Operations Levy be in effect?

The levy will be a 4-year renewal (2021, 2022, 2023, and 2024.)

 

How do our proposed levy tax rates compare to historical levy tax rates in Omak?

 Historical Levy Rates in Omak



Historical Levy Rates in Omak

Year

EPO Voter Approved Levy Rate

Levy Amount

2000

$2.97

$950,000

2001

$2.64

$950,000

2002

$2.64

$950,000

2003

$2.51

$950,000

2004

$2.51

$950,000

2005

$2.98

$1,175,000

2006

$2.98

$1,175,000

2007

$2.98

$1,287,911

2008

$2.98

$1,287,911

2009

$2.98

$1,488,093

2010

$2.98

$1,488,093

2011

$2.39

$1,488,093

2012

$2.39

$1,488,093

2013

$3.61

$2,302,571

2014

$3.61

$2,302,571

2015

$3.35

$2,150,000

2016

$3.35

$2,150,000

2017

$3.35

$2,150,000

2018

$3.35

$2,150,000

2019

$1.59

$995,380

2020 Est.

$1.59

$995,380

2021 Est.

$1.75

$1,175,719

 2022 Est.

$1.75

$1,187,476

2023 Est. 

$1.75 

$1,199,351

2024 Est. 

 $1.75  

$1,211,344 

 

 

If my assessed property value goes up does the school district get more money?


The Educational Programs and Operations Levy has a renewal rate of $1.75 per $1,000 of assessed property value. If the assessed value increases the amount collected for the levy could increase if the maximum total levy amount has not yet been reached. However, if the assessed value decreases the amount collected for the levy will go down because the levy rate remains constant at $1.75.


Can individuals and non-profit organizations qualify for property tax exemption or deferral?

Yes, but the individual(s) and/or organization must meet certain criteria. Please visit the links below to learn more.

Washington State Department of Revenue Website: https://dor.wa.gov/find-taxes-rates/property-tax/property-tax-exemptions-and-deferrals
Okanogan County Website: https://okanogancounty.org/Assessor/property.htm
Non-Profit Tax Exemption Renewal Form: 
https://dor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/legacy/Docs/Pubs/Prop_Tax/NonprofitExemptionInstructionSheet.pdf


Where else can I learn additional levy information?

The Okanogan County Assessor's Office website: https://www.okanogancounty.org/Assessor/?fbclid=IwAR0KYHt5N5nmPOhqoDsCIsgV5sWMCX46SsEtiYFObcPR6kfUnM3slMJK-Js
Okanogan County Treasurer: https://www.okanogancounty.org/Treasurer/
Washington State Department of Revenue website (Link 1): https://dor.wa.gov/find-taxes-rates/property-tax
Washington State Department of Revenue website (Link 2): https://dor.wa.gov/get-form-or-publication/publications-subject/tax-topics/funding-education
Washington State Department of Revenue website (Link 3): https://dor.wa.gov/get-form-or-publication/publications-subject/tax-topics/property-tax-how-one-percent-property-tax-levy-limit-works
Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) website: https://www.k12.wa.us/policy-funding/school-apportionment/instructions-and-tools/ehb-2242-guidance
Washington State Legislature Website: https://app.leg.wa.gov/billsummary?BillNumber=2242&Year=2017