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The Washington state constitution (article IX, section 1) guarantees each child a fully funded basic K-12 education. In 2012 the Washington State Supreme Court held that the State was not meeting its constitutional obligation to provide an adequate basic education to Washington’s children.
On January 9, 2014 the Washington State Supreme Court entered an order directing the Washington State Legislature to produce a funding plan to fully fund Washington’s K-12 education system by April 30, 2014.
During the 2017 session in order to fulfill the Supreme Court’s mandate to fully fund basic education for K-12 and reduce reliance on local school levies, the Washington state legislature passed House Bill 2242 which was signed into law by the Governor. To meet the funding mandated by the courts, the bill adds a new state school levy and modifies the cap on local school levies.
Beginning in 2018 a second state school levy will be in place. For the first four years, the new levy is set at an amount so the combined amount of the current state school levy and the new state school levy base rate will be $2.70 This is approximately $0.90 per thousand in new taxing authority. After four years, the new second state school levy is subject to the 1% limit in current law.
You will be paying both in 2018. The new levy, plus the existing levy, brings the aggregate of two levies up to $2.70. The actual amount may vary.
The $2.70 base rate is equalized across all 39 counties based on their individual assessment ratio compared to 100% - some counties could see their effective rate in the $3.25 range.
Qualifying seniors are exempt from the new levy.
Levy rates are based on a “per $1,000 of value” basis. So if you have a state school levy rate of $2.70, your state school tax for a $100,000 home would be $270.
Local School levies are unaffected for 2018.
As of the 2019 collection year Maintenance and Operations (M&O) levies will be called Enrichment Levies.
Enrichment Levies will have a maximum levy rate of $1.50 per $1000 assessed value.
A new cap on local school levy rates may increase or decrease your tax bill in 2019 depending on your current local school levy amounts.
A school district will be required to have an enrichment levy of some kind to receive the Local Effort Assistance (LEA) funding. LEA funds are funds in addition to a school district’s general fund allocations. The purpose of these funds is to offset the effects the average property tax rates may have on the ability of a school to raise local revenues to supplement the state’s basic K-12 funding.
Capital Facility Levies will not be considered an enrichment levy.