Superintendent's Message

Dear Patrons, 

 

With the holiday season in the rearview mirror, January is upon us and students have filled our halls once again. It’s so great to have staff and students back on campus as we look to make the most of a new start and new year. January brings a time of hope for many. Call it eternal optimism! With goals set for the new year, many folks will begin the year with a new gym membership, plans to organize, read more, learn a new skill or hobby or to simply slow down and spend more time with family and friends. Whatever your new year has in store for you, here’s to hoping you make the most of 2020!

As we begin a new year, Columbia School District would like to take a moment to update our community on an item that many do not think about until the voting season comes around. First, we believe that timely communication around critical areas is essential in maintaining community trust and goodwill. Back in February 2018, the CSD Community overwhelmingly approved a 4-year Educational Programs and Operations (EP&O) Levy. This levy was passed at $3.30 per thousand of assessed value (a flat rate with
no increase). At the time of the EP&O passage, Washington State was working through uncertain financial times as the state legislature was still working through the aftermath of the State Supreme Court and McCleary decision. The result of this work led to arguably the greatest funding change for public schools in the history of Washington State. Much has been written about the impact and apparent winners and losers of the funding changes, however what still remains is a system that has been altered and it is critical to be able to clearly communicate the impact to our local community. Due to McCleary and subsequent legislation in the form of new bills, greater state contributions were provided by the state (as mandated by the state supreme court), but local levies were capped the lesser of $1.50 per $1,000 assessed value or $2,500 per full-time equivalent student for the 2019 school year. When the legislature reconvened, they adjusted the levy cap in the year 2020 to the lesser of $2.50 per $1,000 assessed value or $2,500 per full-time equivalent student. It’s important to note the change in allowable levy dollars moving forward for the 2020 calendar year.

Again, we sincerely thank you for your support of our students. The EP&O levy dollars are essential as they fund programs such as athletics, extra-curricular activities along with support staff which enables more opportunities for our students. As we continue to navigate uncertain times in terms of legislation and funding, our hope is that we can provide you with the latest and most up-to-date information so that we may maintain our focus on putting the needs of students first. Thank you Columbia School District voters for
your support of our Coyotes!

Sincerely,

Todd Hilberg, Superintendent