Proposed levy equalization cuts will hurt our schools and our students
We have about a $2 billion gap to fill in this year’s state budget. The Senate Ways and Means committee recently released a list of possible cuts to fill this gap. On this list was a 66% cut to Levy Equalization. Last week, the Governor’s proposed budget also included a 50% cut to Levy Equalization. The State of Washington uses Levy Equalization to ensure that there is funding equality throughout the state by matching levy funds raised by districts that do not have the property values to raise enough themselves. In Clark County alone, we receive over $30 million in Levy Equalization funds. That means a 66% cut would be over $20 million lost by the end of the year. Evergreen School District would lose over $8 million and Vancouver Public Schools would lose over $5.5 million. A 50% cut as the Governor has proposed would still be $11 million for Clark County schools.
Last Spring, Stand for Children fought hard with your support to fully protect Levy Equalization. And after making two trips to Olympia, hand-delivering over 900 letters, and making hundreds of phone calls and emails, we were able to help fully protect these funds. But this year’s budget shortfall will make it even more difficult to protect, and the Washington Legislature will be convening for a special session on November 28th to decide the fate of these funds.
We’ll be keeping an eye on where this debate goes, but one thing is clear; these cuts will be painful for our schools and our students. We need to re-prioritize our funding to ensure that all our schools have the tools they need to help students succeed no matter where they live.
Clark County Organizer, Stand for Children – Washington