School to ask for levy on February ballot | Guest column

by Eric Webb

OISD Superintendent

I am excited to share that the Orcas Island School District will ask voters to reauthorize the Educational Programs and Operations Levy on Tuesday, February 13, 2024!

This renewable levy you have supported in the past will help fund services, programs, and operations in the district that are not fully funded by the state or federal government.

The replacement levy will provide approximately $10.7 million in funds to Orcas Island’s public schools over a four-year period starting in 2025. This levy will take the place of the district’s existing EP&O levy that expires at the end of 2024.

The basic education funding provided by the State of Washington provides for a limited number of teachers, staff, and educational programs. Local levies like the Education Program & Operations Levy bridge the gap in the state’s funding of education:

• Our Educational Programs & Operations (EP&O) Levy accounts for approximately 17% of our operating budget.

• Approximately one out of five staff positions depend upon this funding.

• EP&O also pays for specialized academic and career training programs, extracurricular student activities (sports & clubs) and electives (music & art), Special Education, substitutes, school safety and security, food services, and much more.

• Vital student services, many essential staffing positions, staff training, and vital mental health support for students are all levy dependent.

Voters will be asked to consider a four-year replacement levy of $2,600,000 for 2025 and 2026 and $2,750,000 for 2027 and 2028. The approximate annual levy rate would be $0.57 for 2025, $0.54 for 2026, $0.54 for 2027, and $0.52 for 2028 per $1,000 assessed value. The new proposed levy rate’s four-year average is actually less than the current levy’s four-year rate! It is also important to note that the total amount collected will not increase after it is placed.

Levy dollars will be distributed with student learning and staffing representing the majority of the levy spending. Here is a breakdown of how levy funds will be allocated by category.

The passage of this levy will help fund our outstanding programs and class offerings so we can continue to deliver a first-rate education supported by all of our teachers and classified staff.

More information on the levy can be found at and

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