Levy FAQ's

We are asking our voters to participate in Pioneer’s Educational Programs and Operations (EP&O) Levy on February 11th, 2020.  This is a replacement levy which will continue our expiring levy from 2016.  Pioneer School District is requesting a levy which is approximately the same amount as the outgoing levy, about $2.6 million.  This replacement EP&O Levy funds all programs which are not funded under the state consideration of basic education.  It represents the values of our schools and community.

 

New February 11, 2020, 3-Year Levy

Year 1 – $1.69 = $2.641 million, increasing the amount 3% each year

Year 2 – $1.74 = $2.720 million

Year 3 – $1.79 = $2.802 million

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

  1. What is the levy cost for our community?
    1. We are asking approximately the same amount as last levy in 2016, $2.6 million per year.This equates to approximately $1.69 per $1000 in the first year (2021) and will increase 3% each of the following 2-years with COLA
  2. Are levy funds going to support higher salaries?
    1. Levy funds can only be spent on Enhancement Programs/Systems, not defined as Basic Education.They cannot be used for negotiated salary increases, only for funding of enhancement programs.
    2. Enhancement Programs include:
      1. Class size reduction
      2. Special Education
      3. School counseling services
      4. Pre-School/Early Learning Programs
      5. Music
      6. Maintenance and Operations
      7. Safety Systems
      8. Transportation
      9. Extra-curricular activities
      10. Athletics
      11. Enrichment stipends
      12. After/Before School Programs
      13. Non-High fees
      14. Administrative supports
      15. Programs/Systems not funded under Basic Education
  3. How much of the district’s budget makes up the EP&O levy?
    1. Levy dollars make up approximately 21% of the district’s overall budget.The loss of such a levy will have a huge impact in our ability to meet the needs of Pioneer students and families.
  4. How are we going to use the levy funds?
    1. The school district will continue in our support of current programming with consideration to 2b
    2. How we spend our money is based on our values as a community and district, therefore small class size, special education, para classroom support, facility management, safety protocols, etc. are all important to maintain and further develop.
  5. Our community gets taxed through local and state.State taxes went up with McCleary Decision.Don’t we get more money from the state since we pay more?
    1. We did see an increase in state funding, however, we also saw an increase in the cost of running school systems.Even with the increase, levies make up approximately 21% of the overall district budget.
    2. State:Tax collected funds.We have no accounting for these funds.They go straight into the state general fund and the state allocates monies to districts.It is out of our control.
    3. Local levy dollars:We have full control to these funds, we are accountable to our community and use these funds to support programs outside of state defined basic education.
    4. We did get additional funding to our schools, but it did not reach the level that our tax payers paid.Although we appreciate the increase in funding, it still does not adequately address complete funding for schools.The State collected $1.2 million from Pioneer SD constituents and we saw an increase of about $900,000.
  6. How is the cost ($1.69) per $1000 calculated?
    1. Cost per $1000 is calculated off our district’s property value.The Pioneer School District property value has increase the past 6 years, meaning, as property values go up, our levy cost goes down.Due to the economic downturn in 2012, last year, 2019, was the first year our property value reached the approximate same level as 2011.In the past 5 years, the Pioneer community has seen an average increase of approximately 4% in property value. The Pioneer School District has an approximate value of $1.565 billion.
  7. How do you base the $2.6 million need?
    1. We only request what we need based on budgetary analysis.In cases where the need of the district is substantially under the voter approved amount for levy collection, we, as a district, request less in funding for collection.We do our best to be fiscally responsible to our community and voters and not ask for more than what we need.


            If you have any questions about the upcoming levy, please do not hesitate in calling the Pioneer School District office at (360) 426-9115.  We will be happy to answer any question you may have.