New law allows local school districts to collect more tax money

  • Wednesday, May 22, 2019 8:35am
  • News

Herald and Globe reports

OLYMPIA — School districts will be able to collect more money from local property tax levies under a new law signed Tuesday by Gov. Jay Inslee.

Under the new law, starting in 2020 districts will be able to collect $2.50 per $1,000 of assessed value, or $2,500 per student, whichever is less. Lawmakers in 2017 had capped what districts could collect from local taxes at $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed value, or $2,500 per student — whichever was less. School leaders in many of the state’s 295 districts complained that cap hurt them financially. Marysville was one, saying because its property valuations were lower than in other district they received much less than $2,500 per student.

“Some inequities and unintended consequences have resulted from previous education funding legislation,” Inslee said before signing Senate Bill 5313. “This measure aims to provide some remedy, especially for property poor school districts.”

Two years ago, state lawmakers and the governor increased the statewide property tax and distributed that new revenue to districts. That enabled the state to comply with the Supreme Court order in the McCleary case to provide ample funding to public schools. Described as a levy swap, lawmakers figured the increase of state dollars would make up for the loss of local tax revenue.

But many school districts said they suffered a significant loss of revenue to pay for enrichment programs such as sports, drama, music and any staff not funded by the state.

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