School districts must rely on local funding sources, such as tax levies, to fill the gap between state funding and the actual cost of educating children. In Tahoma’s case, the cost to educate 8,600 students is not adequately funded by the state tax. Local levy dollars allow education professionals to create educational programs that meet the needs of our unique student population while maintaining operations to support student success.
Elementary schools receive many benefits that directly result from the current 2-year Educational Programs & Operations levy, including:
- Math Assistance Program (MAP) to help struggling students achieve math standards
- Reading Assistance Program (RAP) to help struggling students achieve literacy standards
- School nurse at each school during the entire school day to create a safe environment for students with medical needs
- Safety personnel ranging from playgrounds to crosswalks to ensure every student remains safe
- Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) programs that offer enrichment activities to all students
- Future Ready classes to help students reach their potential while learning life-long skills
- Before school (zero hour) programs offering a wide-variety of experiences
- Well-maintained facilities inside and outside
The middle and high schools also have a lengthy list of programs that rely on funds from this levy. The 8-period day, expanded electives opportunities, after school clubs (drama, robotics, We The People, etc), safety personnel such as resource officers, Power Hour, school nurses, additional school counselors, and athletics all heavily benefit from levy dollars.
On the February, 2020 ballot is a 4-year renewal for the EP&O levy. Tahoma S.D. is asking for voters to approve at the rate of $2.00 per $1,000 of property tax. While this is a slight increase from the previous levy, the state also changed the maximum amounts that districts can ask from voters (from $1.50 in 2018 to $2.50 per $1,000). We feel Tahoma is asking for a fair amount of funding that continues current programming while also creating opportunity for educational programs or operational needs as they arise. Read more details about the Educational Programs & Operations Levy on the TSD site.
As parents and community members, we want opportunities for our children and all Tahoma students. Without this funding, the programs listed above will likely be reduced or possibly removed. Our students deserve the best educational experience that we can provide. Simply speaking, we can build our schools and communities by voting YES to this measure.