Know the Facts ---- Clarify Your Understanding ---- Share with Others
QUESTION: What is the difference between a bond and a levy?
ANSWER: A simple way to remember the difference is “Bonds are for Building, and Levies are to enrich Learning.” The funding provided by the state is to operate schools not to replace or remodel facilities. Construction bond initiatives require a 60% super majority vote by the local community in order to acquire bonds to fund the capital project expenses. The bonds are usually repaid over a 20 year period. The 2003 YCS bond will be repaid in 2023.
Levies are also funded by the local community. However, in 2018, the legislature changed the purpose of a levy to “enrich the state’s statutory program of basic education.” This means additional programs that go beyond the definition of basic education and minimum instructional hours which includes professional learning for staff, extracurricular sports and after school student programs, extended school days, early learning activities, and additional salary costs attributable to enrichment activities. The local Yelm levy will be reduced in 2019 from $3.87 to $1.50 per $1000 of property value.
QUESTION: Does the new McCleary ruling provide money to build and remodel schools?
ANSWER: No. Washington State school funding from the McCleary decision provides dollars for employee salaries and costs to operate schools. Communities must fund school construction from local bond measures or capital projects levies. Bond measures require a 60% voter approval.
QUESTION: Why not build a swimming pool?
ANSWER: We have been asked why the district has not built the pool the community voted for. In 1986 the school district ran a bond measure that included dollars for an athletic facility which included a pool. That measure was defeated, earning only a 47% YES vote. We have not asked for a pool since then. There are consequences for not passing these measures.
Additionally, the maintenance costs of a pool are significant. Districts with pools actually lose money even when they rent out the pool after school hours. The cost to staff, heat, insure and maintain a pool can run between $250,000 and $500,000 yearly; and state revenues and rental fees are insufficient to cover these costs.
QUESTION: Why upgrade the stadium to field turf now?
ANSWER: The district has been saving money over time through the general fund and mitigation money to address capital facilities issues such as field upgrades. Due to the increase in student enrollment, most of those funds have been used to purchase additional portable classrooms to house students. Through the Community Facilities Advisory Committee review, the recommendation is to not add the field renovation due to rapidly increasing school construction costs and impact to property tax. In addition, changes to the state funding model will prevent us from using general funds for capital projects in the future.
The high school grass field is used fewer than 30 times per year and is closed to community use. By replacing the field and scoreboard, the stadium can be opened for rental year round and generate funds to maintain the facility. This will bring other organizations to Yelm and positively impact the economic vitality of our local businesses. Our students and community deserve quality facilities.
QUESTION: Why did we not close Lackamas this week when the power was out?
ANSWER: Lackamas Elementary has a generator that supports basic operations. To avoid loss of instructional time, four classrooms were relocated to spaces on campus that did have power. While not ideal, we believe closing school, breaking the routines of families and losing a day of instruction has a greater impact. Since power was out in surrounding area, keeping school open allowed kids to get breakfast and lunch and access to warm classrooms. It took 95 gallons of fuel to support the basic operation of school for a full day. However, the intended purpose of a generator at any of our schools is for short term outages.
QUESTION: Does the state contribute in any way to school construction projects?
ANSWER: Yes. The state school construction assistance program (SCAP) provides some funding based on the age and condition of the facilities and need for more space for new construction. Yelm Middle School, Southworth Elementary, Prairie Elementary and Fort Stevens Elementary are eligible for SCAP dollars, but only if the building is included in a bond. The state calculates SCAP by taking the current eligible square footage of the building and multiplying it by the current construction cost allocation (CCA) of $225.97. SCAP is then multiplied by the funding assistance percentage that is determined by the economic demographic of the District; YCS is eligible for 72.78% of the calculated value. (i.e. 10,000 sq ft x $225.97 = $2,259,700 x 72.78% = $1,644,610)