SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane Public Schools could consider asking voters for additional education funding.
For the next four months, school leaders will be piecing together a budget that will address the district’s $31 million shortfall. Additional state funding will reduce that number, but it will not cover it all.
The school board has the option to propose a supplemental levy to voters for the November ballot.
According to a district spokesperson, the current voter-approved levy capacity is an estimated $1.71 per assessed property value. SPS has a current rate of $1.50 per assessed property value.
The Washington state legislature recently agreed to raise the limit on how much local levy revenue districts can generate. The cap was raised from $1.50 to $2.50.
“The board will take some time to evaluate the levy increase authorized by the state legislature and have some discussion with the community before making any decisions,” Spokane Public Schools Communications Director Brian Coddington said.
If the school board choses, they could ask voters for a supplemental levy at a rate between $1.71 and $2.50.
“The school board would have to ask voters to authorize anything beyond the current voter-approved capacity,” Coddington said.
For the 2019-2020 school year, an additional $3.8 million would come from increasing the rate to $1.71. An estimated $15 million could be generated from the $2.50 levy rate, according the district.
If voters approved a supplemental levy rate at $2.50, this money would not be available until the 2020 calendar year.
District leaders have until August to agree on a budget that may or may not include a supplemental levy.
The district will host public open-house style listening sessions on May 14 at Shadle Park High School, May 15 at Rogers High School and May 16 at Ferris High School. The community can drop by anytime between 5 and 7 p.m.