Reykdal proposes legislation to ease funding burden on school districts

Superintendent of Public Instruction seeks funding flexibility

  • Thursday, January 11, 2018 11:37am
  • News
Chris Reykdahl.

Chris Reykdahl.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal plans to introduce proposed legislation within the next few days that would provide school districts more funding flexibility.

The proposed bill would make changes to House Bill 2242, which the Legislature passed in 2017.

“The bill made substantial changes to school finance in addition to making some much needed targeted investments in some areas,” Reykdal said in a Wednesday news release. “We appreciate the hard work of policymakers to produce these significant changes.

“However, I’ve spoken to many school district leaders since the bill passed. They’ve noted that the bill needs some fine-tuning so they can implement the policies as intended by lawmakers.”

One area that concerns some districts is the loss of flexible funds to support students.

“The changes benefit most, but some districts are struggling to adequately provide programs that are not considered basic education,” Reykdal said. In the past, districts could make up deficits in state funding through local levies. But in addition to increasing education funding, the Legislature reduced the amount of money school districts can raise through local levies. That leaves some districts in a bind.

“To solve this problem, districts need more funding and they need more flexibility in their local levies,” Reykdal said.

His proposed legislation will, in short:

• Revise the local levy amount included in HB 2242 to provide districts with the option of choosing a levy that produces $2,500 per resident student or the rate per student produced by their 2018 maintenance and operations levy (levies above $2.31 per $1,000 of assessed value must reduce by $0.81);

• Increase levy equalization (which provides additional funds to districts whose property taxes are lower than the state average) to $2,350 to accommodate for the higher levy opportunities;

• Ensure voters in “high-rate” districts (those taxing at $2.31 per $1,000 of assessed value or higher) will not see a net increase in property taxes between local and state property tax (this requires the Legislature to add approximately $225 million in additional levy equalization); and

• Restore about $700 million out of the $1.2 billion that is expected to be reduced in local levies beginning Jan. 1, 2019.

“Local voters should decide how much additional support they want to provide to their local schools,” Reykdal said. “And this is the year to make those changes because the rules for levies change Jan. 1, 2019.”

“I urge legislators to either make this change or delay the automatic levy reductions by one year in order to develop a more rational and sustainable solution for local districts,” he added.

More in News

Show of color: a benefit for Auburn school

Community embraces Run2Educate Color Run at Buena Vista Seventh-day Adventist School

Auburn Valley YMCA hosts Healthy Kids Day

Event encourages kids to stay active and keep learning all summer long

Auburn goes to work in Clean Sweep

Community-wide volunteer effort focuses on major cleanup

Auburn School Board recognizes outstanding staff member | Briefs

The Auburn School District Board of Directors recently recognized Lila Jenkins, office… Continue reading

Stober resigns as communications director for King County assessor

King County Democrats chair to receive $37,700 settlement

Demolition day to mark launch of major renovation to Highline College building

School making more room for more students in health and wellness careers

Auburn School District Teachers of the Year

Erie, Sherer and Harvey to be honored May 14

Housing in Auburn is one area City officials are assessing as the community looks to the future. FILE PHOTO
Incentives: Which are a good fit for Auburn?

City looking at economic development ideas that may benefit community

All Home board members meet in Seattle on April 23 to talk about its structure. Photo by Josh Kelety
The never-ending search for an effective King County homeless plan

While All Home attempts to address the issue, the group’s lack of actual power results in little change.

Most Read