The February 2024 ballot will feature a request to voters from Nooksack Valley Schools to replace an expiring levy with a new four-year Educational Programs & Operations Levy.
State and federal funding for schools does not fully fund the day-to-day operations of school districts and virtually every district in the state relies on a local levy to bridge the gap.
The NV Schools Board of Directors made it clear in a recent meeting that they take the taxpayer burden into account when setting the value of the levy and ask for only what is needed to maintain the current programs at a high quality.
The new four-year levy, replacing the previous four-year levy passed in 2020, would pull in $3.5 million in 2025 with a tax rate of $1.69 per $1,000 of assessed value, well below the $2.50 per $1,000 of value NV Schools could ask for, according to state regulations.
Levy funding ensures more than a dozen areas of the district continue, including providing resources for school safety, reducing class sizes, hiring support staff such as counselors, nurses and custodial and maintenance staff and providing for extra-curricular and co-curricular activities such as music, drama, clubs and both middle school and high school athletics.
Levy funding also allows for the expansion of mental health staffing, facility maintenance, instructional materials and school supplies, technology, staff professional development, after-school and summer-school programs, utilities and field trips. Over the past few years, NV Schools has eliminated most fees associated with school—from school supply purchases to waiving fees on school facilities for youth programs—thanks to levy funding. The replacement levy will also bolster school safety as the district looks to partner with local law enforcement on a resource officer.
“Without levy funding, Nooksack Valley Schools wouldn’t feature such a varied and high-quality experience for students across all grade levels,” says Matt Galley, NV Schools superintendent. “Levy funding allows for so much diversity of opportunity in the schools and the programs supported by a levy really do engage every aspect of the schools and every student in the district.”
While most districts in the region ask voters for the maximum amount allowed, NV Schools again falls well below that mark. The overall funding ask is slightly higher than in 2024 with the increase due to enrollment growth and inflation, although the annual tax paid by each property owner could drop as additional housing construction populates the district.