By Hannah Saunders
Voters in the Northshore School District will soon be able to voice their opinions on three funding measures placed on a special-election ballot on February 8.
The Educational Programs and Operations (EP&O) Levy, Technology Levy, and a Capital Projects Bond (CPB) will continue work to modernize schools, sustain technology and increase opportunities district-wide.
The levies are not new taxes but are renewals of funding measures set to expire at the end of the year. The CPB replaces an expiring bond.
The EP&O levy would disperse funding for school nurses, mental health support, elementary classrooms and overall classroom support. It would also fund student activities to include band, orchestra, choir, theatre, and athletics, on top of supporting services such as special education, multi-language students, and accelerated learning support.
“The support for special education, mental health counselors and nurses is critical in our EP&O levy,” Superintendent Michelle Reid said. “One of the things the State doesn’t fully fund is our special education program. Last year the gap between what the State funded and what we spent was $21 million.”
The EP&O levy would generate $265 million for Northshore schools over the next four years and be funded by a taxable rate of $1.42 per thousand dollars of assessed property value.
The focus of the Technology Levy is on funding devices for all students and includes innovative learning and training and support for students, staff, and family members. The levy will also provide updates in computers and software systems within classrooms.
“The ability to refresh and provide that on a regular schedule is going to be important for technology,” Reid said.
The Technology Levy rate for 2022 is $0.37 per thousand dollars of the assessed property value within the district and will gradually decrease over the next few years. The school district hopes to generate $80 million over the next four years for the Technology Levy.
The Capital Projects Bond funds additional classrooms and program space for overcrowded schools, security upgrades, and necessary repairs to improve and modernize school buildings district-wide.
Northshore School District Chief Communications Officer Lisa Youngblood Hall said Capital Projects Bond funding means a sizeable reduction in the use of portable classrooms.
“If approved, we will reduce portables by 70 and add 110 classrooms across the District,” Youngblood Hall said.
The Capital Projects Bond will generate $425 million from 2022–2026 through a tax rate of $1.46 per thousand dollars of assessed property value.
“It’s the first time we’re going to be able to touch eight schools and actually modernize our schools,” Reid said.
The eight schools receiving modernized improvements are Inglemoor High School, Leota Middle School, Kenmore Elementary School, Crystal Springs Elementary School, Fernwood Elementary School, Maywood Hills Elementary School, Woodin Elementary School, and Sorenson Early Childhood Center.
The NSD will conduct district-wide levy meetings in January.
“Our goal is to invite the Northshore community to visit an open house so we can provide everyone with information on the bond and levy measures as well as answer questions,” Youngblood Hall said.
Levy ballots will arrive in homes in mid-January.