2020 Levy

Frequently Asked Questions


What is an Educational Programs and Operation Levy?

The Replacement Educational Programs and Operation Levy is a local property tax authorized by voters to be used for educational and operational expenses of the school district that are beyond what is funded by the state and federal governments.

What is funded by an Educational Programs and Operation Levy?

The Replacement Educational Programs and Operation Levy will be used to maintain current programs and fund what the state does not consider “Basic Education”. Many programs we offer and the community expects are not technically considered “Basic Education” by the state of Washington. Our levies have supported and will continue to support the following:

  • Building and Grounds – custodial, maintenance, and grounds personnel; materials and supplies; energy costs.

  • Special Programs – field trips, para-educators, administration, teaching staff in art, music, PE, electives and counseling.

  • Co-Curricular and Extracurricular – drama, FFA, FBLA, knowledge bowl, athletics, cheerleading, etc.

  • Curriculum and Technology – curriculum materials (i.e. ELA and Math adoption), technology and devices for staff and students, technology staffing.

Why is this called a “Replacement Educational Programs and Operation Levy”?

The ballot measure is titled a “replacement” levy because this is not a new tax request. Instead, this measure is asking voters to continue the two-year Educational Programs and Operations (EP&O) Levy they approved in 2018.

What is State Levy Equalization Assistance (LEA)?

LEA is a state taxpayer equity program. The total value of all taxable property within the school district is called its “assessed value.” The lower the overall assessed property in a school district, the higher the property tax rate. Levy equalization is an adjustment made by the state to level the playing field across the state and reduce the greater tax burden on property owners within school districts that have a lower average assessed valuation than the statewide average. Tonasket is eligible for approximately 1 million dollars per year of LEA only if we pass a local levy.

Does the Tonasket School District benefit from Levy Equalization Assistance funding?

Yes. The school district receives this state funding because it is considered a “property poor” district – a district with a high tax rate due to low assessed property values. In other words, the tax rate required in Tonasket to generate local levy dollars per student is higher than the statewide average tax rate needed to generate the same revenue. 

How much LEA funding does the Tonasket School District receive from the state?

For the 2019-20 school year, Tonasket School District is estimated to collect $1,018,579.00 in Levy Equalization funds. This funding is critical to Tonasket School District because when combined with the levy, total Levy/LEA funding is approximately 12% of the school district’s budget.

Is LEA funding also dependent on passage of the ballot measure?

Yes. LEA is sometimes described as a matching process because it depends upon passage of the local levy and continued funding by the state legislature. 

Is the ballot proposition asking me to consider the “estimated” tax rate or the stated dollar amount of $878,240, and $922,152 per year?

New state law limits tax rates to $2.50 per 1,000 of property assessed value. Our request estimates a rate of $1.60 per $1,000 of assessed value to generate the above dollar amounts. The amount above will be collected, and the rate will change based on the assessed property valuation in our district. 

Will the Replacement Levy increase my taxes?

The graphs below show that you will pay less in local school levy tax in 2021-22 with the passage of the replacement EP&O levy on the February 2020 ballot than was paid in 2017-2018.

However, the state increased the state school levy by around $1.00 per $1,000 in 2019, so your overall taxes for schools will be higher than in 2017-18.
picture of graph

What is a tax rollback?

A levy rollback occurs when the school district collects less than what voters have approved.

In the calendar year 2020, the district is approved to collect $900,000 in local levy taxes. Voters approved this amount with the understanding that their local school levy rate would not go over $1.50 per $1,000.

With changes in state law, the district can now collect the full amount which would generate a levy rate of $1.78 per $1,000. The district will be rolling back (reducing) the amount voters approved to be taxed to $800,000 to try to approximate the $1.50 per $1,000 advertised to our voters during the 2018 levy election.

What will happen if the Replacement Levy does not pass?

The operating budget for the Tonasket School District would need to be reduced by almost 2 million dollars or approximately 12% of the budget. The full impact would take place over two years because tax collection (January through December) does not coincide with the school budget year (September through August). 

How is a levy different from a bond?

  • Levies make up the difference between funding from the state and federal government and the actual cost of operating a school district. Levies pay for teaching materials and equipment, bus transportation, building improvements, such as carpet replacement and interior painting, and vocational, athletic, drama, special education, and gifted programs. Levy funds are typically collected over a two to four-year time period and must be renewed (similar to a magazine subscription). Voters in the Tonasket Schools district approved a two-year Educational Programs and Operations Levy in February 2018. That levy expires at the end of 2020. 

  • Funds from bonds can only be used for construction or renovation of buildings, major repairs, and land purchases: they cannot be used for basic education. Bond funds are generally collected over a 10-20-year period (similar to a home mortgage).

How do property taxes and changing property values relate to school bonds and levies?

  • Watch the following video from NWESD for a great break down of information.
  • Our local County Assor: Okanogan County Assessor's Office at (509) 422-7190 or www.okanogancounty.org

Are some homeowners exempt from paying a new tax?

Some senior and disabled homeowners may be eligible for an exemption, based on income. Please call the Okanogan County Assessor's Office at (509) 422-7190 or visit their website:

Where can I learn more about voter registration?

Okanogan County voter registration information is online at:

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