Liberty School District emphasizes importance of levy renewal

Liberty School District emphasizes importance of levy renewal

A Spokane County school district is counting on the community to make sure students have the tools they need to succeed in a safe environment.

Voters are considering two levies for the Liberty School District that would replace money that expires this year through existing levies.

The Liberty School District’s Education Programs and Operation (EPO) Levy asks voters to reduce the tax rate they pay for schools over the next three years. If passed, voters would only pay $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value. The current rate is $2.88 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

That cost change was prompted by state actions, when leaders approved appropriations last year that comply with orders by the Washington State Supreme Court’s McCleary decision. That required the state fully fund basic education. Now, taxpayers across Spokane County are getting a break.

“The legislature took a huge step forward in trying to fully fund education, but there is still this gap,” said Liberty School District Superintendent and K-8 Principal Kyle Rydell.

Superintendent Rydell said that gap is made up through levies, including the EPO and Technology, Safety and Security (TSS) Levy, which will be taxed at 25 cents per $1,000 dollars of assessed property value.

Rydell said it’s easy to see the impact past levies have already had in the school. He pointed to one technology advancement. Now, students from third grade to seniors have their own Chromebook, which is a major asset for a school this size.

“I think our students all need to be participating in the technology field..regardless of what your zip code is,” Rydell said.

Rydell said the TSS Levy would also cover security camera updates and a remote controlled door locking system at the elementary and middle school. It’s a feature the high school already has thanks to a past bond.

“Any time that we can help our community feel safer at school, our students, our staff, we are doing the right thing,” Rydell said.

He noted that the community has generously supported the schools for years and he hopes that trend continues.

“The levy piece is just that continuing support from our community that helps address those things that we want and need from oru students to continue to be successful as they pursue their graduation,” Rydell said.

Mail-in ballots are due on or before February 13.