File photo

File photo

How the proposed levies will help fund Renton schools, and what they are projected to cost

Levy measures will be on Feb. 8 special election ballots.

Two different replacement levies for schools will go before Renton voters on the Feb. 8, 2022, special election ballot.

The two Renton School District measures on the ballot will be the Education Programs and Operation Replacement Levy (EP&O) and the “Building For Excellence” Capital/Technologies Replacement Levy.

In a virtual presentation, school district spokesperson Randy Matheson said neither of the two measures would introduce a new tax, but would replace existing local levies that expire in 2022, and would continue to support the school district through 2026.

“Local levies help our district continue current educational programs and maintain critical day-to-day school operations not funded by the state,” said Matheson.

The Education Programs and Operation Replacement Levy would help fund arts, music, student athletics, extracurricular activities and academic support for students, according to Matheson. He also said the levy would help fund school support staff such as nurses, counselors, librarians, custodians, paraeducators and transportation services for students.

Matheson said the EP&O Levy helps cover gaps between what the state provides in funding. For example, he said state funding allows two school nurses to be hired district-wide, while the local levy pays for the hiring of 13 more nurses. He said the state funds the hiring of one school psychologist for the district, but the levy helps hire 18 more.

Matheson said the capital portion of the “Building For Excellence” Capital/Technologies Replacement Levy will help renovate and modernize school facilities, while the technology portion helps to provide electronic and technical resources for teachers and students.

Based on a conservative estimate of growth in Renton, Matheson said that if both measures were passed, it would not increase taxes. The combined local tax rate would be projected to maintain a flat rate of $3.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value or less through 2026 if both levies are passed.

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