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December 7, 2015

Same Levy, Same Rate

Why's the School Levy a BIG Deal?

Same Levy, Same Rate

Every two years, the Kennewick school District asks voters to decide on a two-year replacement Maintenance & Operations Levy. This year’s election is scheduled for February 9 and voters are being asked to replace the current levy that expires at the end of 2016.

If approved, property owners are projected to pay $3.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value per year – that’s the same rate they pay now. The levy would generate $25,050,000 in 2017 and $25,600,000 in 2018.

Chart of projected tax rates

Levy dollars Bridge the Funding Gap

You may not know it but levy dollars fund almost 20% of the school district’s budget and pay for a lot of important people, programs and materials not covered by state and federal dollars.

Graphic breakdown of distribution of levy dollars to district programs

Supporting Students Inside and Outside of the Classroom

Health & Safety

  • High School Resource Officers
  • Security Officers
  • Counselors
  • Nurses

Student Learning & Staffing

  • Graduation Success Coordinators
  • Art
  • Music
  • Physical Education
  • Advanced Placement
  • International Baccalaureate
  • Highly Capable
  • Professional Development & Training
  • Substitute Teachers
  • Graduation Success Coordinators
  • Special Education Support
  • Bilingual & Dual Language

Instructional Support & Technology

  • Librarians
  • Secretaries
  • Paraeducators
  • Textbooks
  • Curriculum
  • Computers
  • Classroom Instructional Technology
  • Teaching Supplies & Equipment

Athletics & Activities

  • School Athletics
  • Coaches
  • Advisors
  • Extra-Curricular Activities
  • Competitions
  • Fine Arts
  • Transportation

Operations & Maintenance

  • Custodians, Grounds & Maintenance Workers
  • Building Maintenance
  • Equipment
  • Supplies
  • Repair
  • Utilities
  • Fuel
  • Vehicles
  • Vehicle Maintenance

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a bond and a levy?
A simple way to remember the difference is BONDS=BUILDINGS and LEVIES=LEARNING. Levy dollars allow for the district to provide programs and services that would not otherwise be funded. Bonds help fund the construction of new and remodeled buildings.

Is there a tax break for senior citizens?
Senior citizens may qualify for tax exemptions from levy and bond taxes based on household income. Exemptions may also be granted for disabled individuals. For more information, contact the Benton County Assessor's Office at (509) 735-2394.

How can I register to vote or change my mailing address?
Voter registration may be done online at the Benton County Auditor's Office website or in person at 5600 W. Canal Drive in Kennewick. 

If my property value increases, will the district get more money?
No. The total levy amount is set by the voters. Property taxes adjust based on the assessed value of a piece of property.

Will my property taxes go up?
It is unlikely that your property taxes would go up. If your property was recently assessed at a higher value, you could see a slight increase. In any case, the increase will be minimal. It is also possible for property taxes to go down if the property hasn’t been recently assessed or if new higher valued property is added to the county’s tax rolls.

What happens if the levy doesn’t pass?
The Board would likely choose to run it again in April. If it failed twice, the district would have to cut approximately $37.0M out of its current operational budget. This would result in substantial personnel cuts and the need to reduce or eliminate programs.

What percentage of voters must approve it to pass?
School levies require a simple majority or 50% plus one vote.

How do I know if I am registered to vote?
Call Benton County Elections Department at (509) 736-2727.

What is the last day to register to vote in person?
February 1

Is there tax exemption available for senior citizens, disabled or those on limited income?
Yes and you may qualify. Please contact the Benton County Auditor at (509) 786-5710.

When is the election?
February 9, 2016

When will ballots be mailed?
Week of January 20, 2016