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~ Ralph Waldo Emerson





Parade of Pride by Eatonville Elementary Students and Educators
Elementary Kids Reached Top Five Percent in State Last Year!
Photos and Story by Bob Walter

     On a cool, wintry Friday morning, Eatonville had reason to celebrate, and celebrate they did! During the January 22 council meeting Eatonville Town Administrator Abby Gribi announced that  Eatonville Elementary has become a "School of Distinction," by going from the bottom five percent among schools in the state to the top five percent in 2017.
Diane Heersink, Principal of  Eatonville Elementary, STEM Lighthouse School says, "It's not very often that a Priority School gets the School of Distinction Award."
     Escorted by the Eatonville Police, and starting their parade at 9:30 a.m. in a swing by the middle school, the entire student body and their staff of educators then marched down Washington Avenue.

     Proud educators lead the parade holding a banner proclaiming: "Eatonville Elementary School: 2017 School of Distinction"

     Celebrating the collective accomplishments of the staff and students of Eatonville Elementary, the parade turns onto Highway 161 (Washington Avenue.) 

     Our apologies that this was not a video, because these young students were really rockin', and setting the jubilant tone for the entire celebration.

     As these upper class band members demonstrated, there's nothing like a beat to get the juices flowing on a cold winter day.

An entire elementary school claims the street to celebrate their accomplishment.

The young drill team gets the growing crowd pumped as they march down Mashell Avenue.

The students celebrated with party whistles.

A closer look at the proud faces of the young students heading north on Mashell Avenue.

      Eatonville's Mayor Mike Schaub, Police Chief Brian Witt and the Fire Department's Medic
One from Station 84 comprise the rear escort for the parade marchers celebrating Eatonville Elementary's achievement in becoming a School of Distinction.

What’s the difference between a
 Bond and a Levy?

Check Out this Informative and Brief Video


Vote Yes February 13, 2018

Levies are for Learning

Levies make up the difference between funding from the state and federal government and the actual cost of operating a school district. Levies pay for teaching materials and equipment, bus transportation, building improvements, such as carpet replacement and interior painting, and vocational, athletic, drama, special education, and gifted programs. Levy funds are typically collected over a two to four-year time period and must be renewed (similar to a magazine subscription).

Bonds are for Building

Funds from bonds can only be used for construction or renovation of buildings, major repairs, and land purchases; they cannot be used for basic education. Bond funds are generally collected over a 15 to 20-year period (similar to a home mortgage).

All You Need to know about the Upcoming Replacement Levies

The Eatonville School Board unanimously passed two resolutions at the November 8 Board meeting that will put two levies on the February 2018 ballot.

School board members decided to approve a levy collection based on a necessary higher limit instead of
the lower, maximum amount imposed by the Washington State Legislature this summer, which will be effective in 2019.

At the school board meeting, Business manager Kim Knight recommended the board choose the levy
rates, to “make sure we consider the risks and that we’re in a position to be able to maintain our programs if the laws change without having to go back to our community for a supplemental levy.”

The Eatonville Board stated the decision was made to ask voters for a higher rate because this is the
cost for the Eatonville School District to come closer to maintaining its current level of programming, although it will not be the full amount needed.

If approved by voters, a replacement Educational Programs and Operations Levy will collect
$7,594,126 million over two years between 2018-2020. The current levy expires at the end of 2018. The rate to be collected is currently estimated to be $2.51 per $1,000 of assessed valuation

The second levy the board approved for the ballot is a Capital Levy. This levy would tax property
owners $.25 per $1,000 of assessed valuation during the 2019-2024 collection years.

With the passage of both levies, property owners would be taxed a total of $2.76 per $1,000 of assessed
valuation each year, meaning a homeowner with a house assessed at $260,000 would pay $717.60 a year (not taking into account the change in its assessed valuation). Currently the same homeowner pays $3.56 cents per $1,000 for a total of $925.00. This means a savings of $208 per year in local school levy collections.

The Educational Programs and Operations Levy allows the Eatonville School District to pay for
educational programs and services, including teaching, school supplies, technology, athletics, buildings and transportation.

The Capital Levy pays for building maintenance, improvements, expansion, renovation, and for
technology infrastructure and student security systems.

Ballots will be mailed to voters for the  February election on Jan. 26, 2018.  Election day for the
February Special Election is Feb. 13, 2018 with certification Feb. 23, 2018.

Question and Answers

Q: How did the Legislature pass a plan  with so many problems? I  thought education funding was "fixed."

A: The 2017 Legislature passed its school funding decision in July, at the very last minute, after closed-
door negotiations. The McCleary Plan was not widely followed or understood by the general public.

Q: You are getting more money from the state. Why do you also need a local levy? Schools are fully
funded now. The legislature fixed it. Why are you asking for a levy?

A: School funding is a work in progress. In July, state  legislators increased state property taxes with
the intent of lowering local school taxes, not eliminating local school taxes. It's a good concept and a step in the right direction. But not perfect. Two reasons:

The funding formulas in the new law create uneven gaps in how much different districts can ask voters
to approve. This means some districts can ask voters for more money per student than others. Once again, this is not an equitable solution for all students and districts in the state.
The state money must be spent in very specific ways. Those restrictions eliminate much of our local control for programs our community wants in schools.

Q: The November ballot asked whether I approved the new state property tax. What does that mean
for school funding?

A: Advisory Vote Number 18 was just that- an "advisory" vote. In July, legislators increased state
property taxes for schools. They intended this action to lower local school taxes. The "property tax shift" is one way the legislature hoped to meet the Supreme Court's order to amply fund public schools.

Information on the Eatonville School District Levy on February 13, 2018. I appreciate and value public
participation in the democratic process and would like to provide information for voters to consider regarding the February 13 levy.

School Levies are Not About Teacher Salaries; They are About Services to Students

Eatonville teacher salaries have been compared with national salaries, but what matters most is how they compare to Washington State averages, and more importantly, neighboring districts. Research shows that teacher quality is the most important factor regarding student achievement and success. Eatonville School District wants the best teachers in our classrooms and we pay a competitive wage to attract and retain high-quality staff. Our teachers have an average of 13 years of experience in the profession and approximately 67% have a Master’s Degree.

Additional Pay for Additional Work

Teachers are paid a base salary, but have the opportunity to earn more by working more. I believe that’s fair. These aren’t bonuses; this is pay for additional work. These stipends often compensate teachers for additional training (on non-paid days), grade level or department chair positions, and co-curricular activity like athletics, art, band, music and student clubs. These are all items highlighted in levy communications, paid for through levy funds, and supported by our community. We all know that students deserve an equitable, comprehensive and rigorous educational experience.

Pierce County Tax Rates

When considering a school levy, the one factor districts control is the  proposed tax rate and overall levy collection amount. In our discussions with the School Board and community, we have deliberately kept the tax rate per/$1000 of assessed value at $2.76 which includes both Proposition 1&2. This is less than the current collection rate of $3.56 tax rate per /$1000.

While Pierce County’s tax rates are higher than some counties', that doesn’t mean property owners are
paying more in taxes than residents in other counties. It is important to remember that the total tax collections is based upon the assessed valuations of property. For example, at $196,117 the median property valuation in Pierce County is significantly lower than the current median value of $335,725 in King County. Most importantly, we do not have the same commercial and industrial property tax base as other counties.

Additionally, Pierce County taxes are complex and go beyond schools. There are countywide taxes for
the Port of Tacoma, the flood control tax, and taxes for metropolitan park districts, all of which add to the composite tax rate.

This is a Replacement Educational and Operations Levy Proposition 1 and Capital Levy Proposition 2

By raising money locally through a levy, the district is able to maintain funding for programs beyond those which the state provides. This includes: teachers so that lower class sizes can be sustained; instructional assistants who work one-on-one or in small groups with students, and provide supervision on the playground; transporting students to and from school, including bus routes in areas where it is unsafe to walk; programs to challenge students, such as gifted education and advanced placement; special education, remediation, and English as a Second Language programs; books, learning materials, software and technology used by students in school; training for teachers to keep their skills and knowledge updated; time for teachers to prepare quality classroom lessons; coaching and supervision for extracurricular activities, such as student music programs and sports; and maintaining and operating school facilities, including heat and lights for classrooms.

In addition, the capital levy will ensure our facilities remain safe and equitable. This will allow for
dedicated funds to maintain our roofs, septic systems, heating and mechanical systems, and other technical infrastructure so that such expenses do not come out of program resources.

Please know that the Eatonville School District would not put this measure forward to voters if it were
not critical to sustaining operations and providing a high-quality education for our students. We do not ask for your funding support lightly, and we know that your trust in our stewardship of public dollars is paramount. You have our commitment to do what’s best for students and our community regarding these important levy funds.

Krestin Bahr

Amy J. Snyder
Ex. Asst., District Office


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