• Cast your Vote: Wenatchee School District Seeks EP&O Levy

    On Tuesday, February 9, voters within the Wenatchee School District (WSD) will be asked to vote on a four-year Educational Programs and Operations (EP&O) Levy. The WSD is seeking a levy rate of $2.10 per $1,000 assessed property value. This levy is primarily for costs related to supporting core learning activities, technology, safety, and WSD’s ability to offer elective/specialist classes, field trips, and extracurricular programs such as art, drama, music, and sports.
     
    The proposed levy will make up approximately 12% of the District’s budget and will be dedicated to educational programs and operations. A local levy is one source (12%) of the three common revenues used for funding Washington public schools. Other sources include general state apportionment based on student enrollment (77%) and federal funds based on exceptional student needs (9%). The remaining 2% consists of facility use fees, student fees, meal costs, etc.
     
    The money from the EP&O levy fills the gap between what the state funds as basic education and the cost of all the programs, services and additional staff. The Wenatchee School District currently serves over 7,600 students and employs over 1,200 staff. The state provides funding for most teachers, but levy dollars increase the number of staff in critical roles such as nurses, counselors, teaching assistants, technology support, and custodians. The percentages listed below represent how many WSD staff positions are reliant on levy funding:

    • Basic Ed Paras= 50% of total positions
    • Tech Support= 80% of total positions
    • Safety & Security= 33% of total positions + the School Resource Officers
    • Various Secretarial Staff= 15% of total positions
    • Custodians= 25% of total positions
    • Grounds/Maintenance= 35% of total positions
    When there is an increase in salary or benefits for these positions that increases the pressure on levy funds. A new state law mandates that all schools only offer a state administered benefits package, School Employees Benefits (SEBB). This change increased the number of staff who qualify for insurance. Previously staff who worked less than full-time got a proportionate amount of benefits (example: .5 FTE teacher= 50% medical insurance benefit). Now anyone who works over 3.25 hours per day (630 hours per year) qualifies for the full benefit amount. This rule applies to all staff.
     
    The Wenatchee School District currently provides diverse programming to support all students’ needs, levy funding makes these diverse range of programs possible. The levy funds programs such as AVID, which supports students who would be the first generation to attend college. It also funds the Hi-Cap program that supports students who are driven academically. 
     
    In order to pass, the levy must be approved by Wenatchee voters with a 'yes' vote of 50% + 1 on Feb. 9th. There has been confusion around what constitutes a certifiable election for the levy. Previously, it was understood that to be a certifiable election, 40% of the voters (approx. 10,000) that participated in the last general election (Nov. 2020) must vote in the special election on February 9th. That calculation has been corrected by the Chelan County Auditor.
     
    To review information directly from the school district about the upcoming EP&O Levy, please visit: www.wenatcheeschools.org/epolevy
     
    If you have further questions about the levy, you can contact the WSD or Chelan County Assessors Office:
    For questions to the School District, email: levy@wenatcheeschools.org
    For questions to the Chelan County Assessors Office, email: Assessor@co.chelan.wa.us
     

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