Ballots for the Feb. 11 special election are in the mail. A three-year supplemental levy for Vancouver Public Schools is on the ballot. If approved, the levy would continue the current level of district services, programs and staffing through 2023.

The supplemental levy would make up a $10 million shortfall in the district budget following major changes to state funding over the past few years. The changes included a cap on local levy requests limiting them to $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value. After 253 districts statewide reported budget deficits, the Legislature raised the levy cap to $2.50 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

VPS is asking voters to authorize the following amounts:

  • $10 million for 2021
  • $10.415 million for 2022
  • $10.875 million for 2023

The projected rates per $1,000 of assessed property valuation are:

  • 43 cents in 2021
  • 41 cents in 2022
  • 40 cents in 2023

The proposed levy supplements the education and operations levy for $1.50 per $1,000 passed by voters one year ago. If approved, the supplemental levy would bring the local levy rate to an estimated $1.93, which is well below the new state cap of $2.50 per $1,000.

The total local and state school tax rate, including all levies and bonds, would be an estimated $6.45 per $1,000 in 2021. This rate is equivalent to the total rate in 2017, the year prior to the implementation of the levy cap.

Ballots can be dropped in the mail (no postage necessary) and must be postmarked by Feb. 11. Alternately, they can be returned to a dropbox by 8 p.m. or to an Election Day-only drop site (list of locations included with ballots).

More information is available on the district website.