Capital Levy


2018 Capital Projects Levy 

Informational Links

League of Education Voters

Informational video from OSPI Superintendent Reykdal regarding HB 2242

Informational video from OSPI Superintendent Reykdal regarding HB 2224

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the election?

The election is November 6, 2018.

Ballots must be postmarked by November 6th to be valid. If you put your ballot in the mail on November 6th it might first be sent out of the area to be postmarked. When this happens you can end up with a postmark of November 7th and your ballot will not be valid. Send your ballot in early or put it in the drop box by the Tonasket Library to avoid this issue.

How do I register to vote?

You can register to vote online, by mail or in person at your county elections department. The following link will take you to The Office of the Secretary of State Elections & Voting page for more detailed information.

What is the last day I can register to vote to be eligible for this election?

October 8 - Last day for online and mail-in voter registration, address changes and other updates.

October 29 - Last day for new Washington State voter registration (in person only).

When will I get my ballot?

Ballots will be mailed by Okanogan County around October 18th. Ballots will have a prepaid return envelope.

What is a capital projects levy?

A Capital Projects Levy is a short-term, interest-free, voter-approved measure that provides funding for modernization and/or replacement of school buildings and the purchase of equipment including educational technology.

With a Bond, funding comes all at once, like when you get a mortgage for your home, but for a Capital Projects Levy, funding comes in on a yearly basis. The district would have to either borrow against the income stream or space projects over the 6-year term of the levy.

The state does provide some funding for the ongoing maintenance of our facilities. However, it is not enough to tackle the number of projects that need to be addressed in our aging buildings, to build facilities for program needs (vocational), to provide adequate technology, and to provide the equipment and remodeling needed to improve our safety and security.

The district has attempted to pass several Bonds to meet some of our facility needs but they have failed to meet the 60% threshold for passing. A Capital Projects Levy only needs to pass at a 50% threshold.

What are the proposed capital levy projects?

Our top priorities for this Capital Projects Levy:

• Energy Efficiency (HVAC System) – approximately $1,500,000
• Safety/Security Upgrades – approximately $700,000
• Elementary School Roof – approximately $500,000
• High School Shop Expansion for Vocational Education Program – approximately $1,000,000

Additional funds raised will be used for general maintenance above what is funded by our state allocation and to support technology infrastructure. Items such as replacing carpet, replacing the HS water softener, replacing the ES hot water heater, etc. are not part of our basic funding allocation. We used to pay for this out of our M&O levy but that was cut by more than half by recent legislative action. We are also applying for several grants to help fund these projects so the final cost could be reduced, allowing for us to include more projects.

Why is our District asking for funding?

Our Tonasket School District facilities are in good shape for 23-year-old buildings but, like our homes, some things wear out and need to be replaced. Also, technology has a short lifespan and needs to be replaced and upgraded periodically.


HVAC (Heating, Venting and Air Conditioning): Boilers, Air Chillers and Energy Efficiency:
The HVAC system is past its lifespan. It has been in place for 23 years and is constantly breaking down. The valves throughout the heating and cooling system are starting to leak propylene glycol which the district is continuously addressing. Replacing this system is an urgent need in order to keep an ideal temperature within the buildings for the health of the students and staff throughout the school district. Replacing the system would also significantly increase our energy efficiency.

Damaged ceiling tile from circulation pumps leaking glycol.
damaged ceiling tiles

Air chiller - replacement parts cannot be found
Air chiller
Air Chiller

Boiler that is past its usable lifespan. Constant repair issues.

HVAC system pumps
HVAC pumps

Safety and Security Upgrades:
Our school safety and security would be improved by installing a new electronic key system and access controls for our exterior entrances and altering our entryways in the elementary, middle, and high school. The remodeling of the building entrances will establish a route that requires visitors to check in to the office to be cleared before entering the general building. This ensures that all visitors are accounted for and have proper identification. Currently, visitors can walk right past the school offices.

Entrance remodel example for the ES
example ES entrance remodel
overhead ES remodel

Elementary Roof Replacement:
The ES roof has reached the end of its lifespan. Shingles are starting to show signs of deterioration as all of the sand wears off and exposes the fiberglass, and as the picture below indicates, shingles are starting to separate from the roof.

We need to replace the roof before we have problems with leaking. Leaking can lead to significant damage to the interior of the building and increase the likelihood of mold issues. We want to avoid this!

ES Roof
ES roof shingles

High School Shop Expansion:

Our shop/classroom facility is too small and inadequate to offer the programs we need to prepare our students for career opportunities in the trades.

In our cramped shop, equipment must be moved constantly in order to safely use the different machines. A larger shop facility is greatly needed. Currently, all agriculture science labs must be done in an under-equipped classroom facility.

Specific Issues:

  • No room for expansion of curriculum or classes.
  • Tools and equipment for classroom labs (meats, shop, natural resources, Advanced Ag, and both shops) must be moved for students to operate and then go back to storage.
  • We need to bring our facility up-to-date to support the skills students will need to compete in regional and national job market, and to prepare them for technical and college institutions.
  • Impossible to complete large shop projects (all work must be done outside)
  • No paint booth or wash rack or lift for students to work on large projects.

high school shop

What is our vision for this space?

We envision a separate, precast concrete building (not steel as stated in a previous article - precast concrete is a better building material for our purpose) to the west of the current shop.

Example of a precast concrete wall
precast concrete wall

This space will support the existing program, which was severely cut in the 1995-96 bond project.
The space would provide the following:

  • Shop space for large projects.
  • Food grade wet lab for science and agriculture labs and projects.
  • Technical dry laboratory to offer much needed industry training.
  • Area for existing tools to be utilized to their potential.
  • Additional class opportunities for students using the wet lab addition (vet tech class, food science, applied sciences, and industrial arts).
  • Additional storage space above the laboratories, enabling our equipment to last longer and be more effective.

Technology Infrastructure:
Our students live in a digital world and they use technology every day to access classroom resources, complete assignments, and to learn at their own pace. Our teachers and staff use technology to meet the educational needs of our students and we are preparing our students for our modern world.

Much of this technology has been funded by our expiring M&O levy. The past levy has supported student and staff computers, the wireless network for the entire school, school district servers, classroom projectors, and document cameras, and technology support staff.

Since the introduction of HB2242, the State cap on local levy limits means that this funding is cut.

Funding from a Capital Projects Levy is needed to help support this aspect of our educational program.


How much will each proposed project cost?

Costs were estimated by contacting several contractors in our state or region that perform similar work. In some cases, multiple estimates were obtained. Schools must abide by prevailing wage laws so often it costs more for us to do a project than what one can do in the private sector.

Link to Prevailing Wage: What you need to Know ~ WA State Department of L&I

Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Estimate– $1,500,000 for the entire project.

Remodeled School Entry Estimate – Approximately $200,000 per entry (3 X $200,000 = $600,000) including cost of architecture, engineering, new doors, locks and remodeling of entry way.

New Exterior Door Locks Estimate – $100,000

Elementary Roof Estimate– $500,000

Technology Upgrades Estimate – $100,000 per year

New Shop Building Estimate– $1,000,000

Other projects like continuing to replace worn carpeting, replace failing food service equipment (stoves, warmers, etc.) and other general maintenance would be supported by this capital projects levy depending on final project costs. Costs Estimate – $100,000 per year.

Are we looking into grants to help fund these projects?

The district is looking into several grants to help support these projects.

For example, we just submitted an Urgent Repair Grant asking for $200,000 to support the HVAC project.

We will be continually be applying for grants that can support these projects.

Are all of these projects necessary right now?

The district is in critical need to replace the aging HVAC system that has been in place for 23 years. The cost of replacement far outreaches what the district funds can currently afford. The district has failed three bond attempts in the past four years. Replacing the HVAC system has been a priority project in each of these bonds. We currently pay around $25,000 per year in costs associated with repairing these systems and some of the system is so outdated that we can no longer obtain parts.

Safety and security is a top priority. As tragic as it is, violence is in schools across the nation. We want to ensure the entrances to our schools have an added measure of security in place to protect all students and staff.

In order to ensure the health of the ES students and protect our investment in our facility, the deteriorating roof needs to be replaced before leaks cause the growth of mold and cause other issues.

In order for students to gain the full benefit of utilizing all the equipment in our vocational program in a safe and efficient manner, a larger shop is needed. This will also allow us to expand our current program offerings when we have access to wet and dry labs for example.

With the state cap on local levy limits, funding to continue technology updates will need to come from the Capital Projects Levy. Our teachers, staff and students use technology to meet the educational needs of our students. We are preparing our students for our modern world and life beyond school, which requires competence in technology.

Past bonds were asking for funding to increase space in our schools. Why is this not a part of the proposed projects?

The lack of space in all three of our schools is still an issue that needs to be addressed. However, through a process involving the community and the school board, these projects were identified as top priorities for the limited funds that we could raise through a Capital Projects Levy.

Over the past few years, the needs to fix our HVAC system, replace our ES roof and increase our safety and security have become more vital projects than increasing classroom space.

We have also increased our ES space by reclaiming the portable previously used by the Head Start program.

The proposed projects list does include increasing space in the HS with a shop addition.

Why did the district replace the ALE portable this summer?

The old ALE portable had extensive safety and health issues, so the district made this a priority project and replaced the portable with new buildings this past summer using existing district funds.

These funds came from past M&O levies and our efforts to cut expenses over the past three years.

What about the sports complex upgrade that was on the bond proposal?

While the sports complex does need an upgrade, there are other, more critical projects that need to be addressed. The track is starting to show signs of extensive wear and tear, so we will patch the cracked areas until we have the district funds to replace the track.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) equal access compliance with the sports complex is still an issue that needs to be addressed. We will be pursuing grant funding over the next few years to address this project. This year we applied for grant funding to add automatic doors to each of our schools in order to make them more ADA compliant.

How have recent levy funds been used by the district?

  • Buildings and Grounds
    * Custodial, Maintenance, Grounds Personnel, Materials and Supplies, Energy Costs

  • Special Programs & Staffing
    * Field Trips, Paraeducators, Teaching Staff – Art, Music, PE, Electives, and Counselors

  • Co-Curricular and Extra-Curricular
    * Drama, FFA, Knowledge Bowl, FBLA, Yearbook, Athletics, Cheerleading, Robotics, etc.

  • Curriculum/Technology
    * Curriculum Materials and Educational Software, Technology and Device Upgrades, Technology Staffing.

  • Examples – not a complete list but examples of what the levy has paid for in the past.
    * K-12 Math Curriculum and Training
    * Expanded Camera System throughout the district including our buses
    * K-12 English/Language Arts Curriculum and Training
    * New Carpet in the MS
    * New ALE Buildings
    * Replacement stair treads in MS/HS
    * New/Replacement Vehicles for Maintenance and Staff and Student Travel
    * Chromebooks for students
    * Support for Nationals in FFA, FBLA, and Robotics
    * ES Art, ES/MS/HS Music, One Counselor Position
    * Replacement Lawn Mower
    * Coaches’ Salaries
    * Transportation for Field Trips and Athletic Events
    * Dean of Students in the ES
    * Staff Computers and Classroom Projectors
    * Replacement Hot Water Tank in the HS
    * Replacement Water Softener in the ES
    * Exterior Lighting Upgrade

How much will the Capital Projects Levy raise and how much will it cost taxpayers?

A six-year Capital Projects Levy would cost approximately $1.40 per $1,000 of assessed property value and would result in a lower overall school tax rate than what was assessed in 2018. The Capital Projects Levy would raise approximately $4,521,555 over 6 years.

Yearly Capital Levy Amounts

  • 2019 $716,783
  • 2020 $731,119
  • 2021 $745,741
  • 2022 $760,656
  • 2023 $775,869
  • 2024 $791,387

How would this levy impact my tax bill?

A property owner can estimate his or her tax based on the assessed value of his/her property.

A Capital Projects Levy of $1.40 per $1,000 of assessed property value would cost a homeowner with a $100,000 home, $140 per year, or $11.67 per month, or $.39 per day.

Prior to 2018, your local school district levy was around $3.40 per $1,000 of assessed value. Starting in 2019, this local levy will be $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed value.

If the Capital Projects Levy passes, your local school district property tax will still be lower than it was in previous years. ($2.90 per $1,000 potentially in 2019 vs around $3.40 per $1,000 in 2017 and 2018)

What happens after the levy passes?

After the Capital Projects Levy passes the district will begin the process of planning for each of these projects.

Key decisions that will need to be made:

  • Selecting an architect.
  • Determining the best entry layout.
  • Hiring an ESCO for our energy projects.
  • Completing an investment grade energy audit to make us eligible for energy efficiency grants.
  • Determine project specifications and going out for bid.
  • Determining if we should borrow against the income provided by the levy over six years and do the projects ASAP, or space them out over the six years.

    Levy Rates

    Tonasket SD







    State School Tax*






    M&O Levy Rate






    Capital Levy Rate






    EP&O Levy Rate












captital levy graph

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

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. 
  • 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).

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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