A Message from Superintendent VanderYacht
At its October 12 meeting, the Lynden School Board approved placing a renewal of our Educational Programs and Operations (EP&O) Levy on the February 13, 2024 ballot, alongside the 2024 Capital Projects Bond.
The current EP&O Levy and a 4-yr Technology/Facilities Capital Levy are set to expire on December 31, 2024. There is a gap between what the state funds and what it costs to ensure we are meeting the needs of every learner and the high standards the community has for our schools. Districts around the state must ask their communities to consider local funding measures to bridge the gap to provide the best and safest schools possible. Renewal of the EP&O Levy continues funding for Safe & Secure Learning Environments, Academic & Instructional Support, and Positive Student Experiences. Our EP&O Levy is not a new tax but renews a funding stream that provides 14% of our total operating budget.
What Does the EP&O Levy Support?
Safe & Secure Learning Environments –
- School counseling and nursing personnel across the district; mental health coordinator position.
- Maintenance of our security & surveillance program (cameras); access controls/secured main entries at each of the schools; LHS school security personnel.
- Dean of Students, school administrator staffing levels, and lunch supervision personnel to improve student behaviors and hold students accountable for unsafe/disruptive behaviors.
- Continued expansion of district’s use of technology and staff on buses to improve monitoring of student behavior and create safer environments for all while traveling to and from school.
Academic & Instructional Support –
- Teacher staffing levels to maintain lower class sizes while also providing fair and competitive salaries comparable to other county schools.
- Paraeducator staffing levels to operate our multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS) while also providing fair and competitive salaries comparable to other county schools. Systems of support include elementary intervention programs such WIN and Extended Day, AVID at the secondary levels, highly capable and multilingual programs, Positive Behavior Intervention & Support (PBIS), and social & emotional learning programs across the district.
- Robust elective courses in secondary schools and specialist classes at the elementary levels.
- The levy also backfills the general fund (basic ed) used to cover the state’s underfunding of Special Education services. Close to $2.0 million of local tax in 2022-2023 was used to provide services and supports outlined in student Individual Education Plans (IEPs).
Positive Student Experiences –
- Athletics, band, music, drama, clubs & activities at the secondary level. The state does not provide any funding for extracurricular programs resulting in most activities occurring outside of the school day being funded 100% by the EP&O Levy.
- Maintain community use of district facilities at no, or very minimal cost, when activity involves youth.
With two levies expiring, the EP&O tax rate is estimated to continue at $1.84 per $1,000 of assessed property value. The total tax rate of both funding initiatives and the current LMS/Fisher bond is estimated to be $3.96 per $1,000 of assessed property value. The community approves a total amount of money collected, not the rate, so the tax rate could go down as more properties are built in our community. See more information on the 2024 initiatives at Bonds & Levies – Lynden School District (wednet.edu). As always, I’m happy to answer any questions you may have and can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 360-354-4443, ext. 3414.