Feb. 13 serves as a date of extreme importance for the Rainier School District (RSD) as residents will vote on two levies to provide more funding for the three schools within the district.
The first educational programs and operations (EP&O) levy is asking voters to pay $2.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value. The community previously agreed to pay the same rate in 2020 for an EP&O. This replacement levy provides “vital funding” to support day-to-day operations within RSD.
The second levy, a newly proposed tax, asks voters to approve $1 per $1,000 of assessed property value in a capital levy for safety, security and maintenance repairs.
“The Rainier School District is an amazing place for children, and we are deeply committed to the best education for every student, every day, every way,” Superintendent Bryon Bahr said. “Thank you to our voters that always support our schools.”
Educational programs and operations levy
In an email sent by Bahr, a document stated that the EP&O levy would support a plethora of resources within RSD, including funding a quality education. A passed levy would provide resources such as teachers, classroom supplies, textbooks and educational programs that aren’t covered by state funding.
The district highlighted the EP&O as ensuring balanced class sizes and preventing classrooms from increasing to unmanageable levels. RSD added that passing the EP&O levy allows it to attract and retain quality employees by providing competitive salaries and benefits for teachers and staff.
The EP&O would also enhance educational opportunities by providing funding for extracurricular activities, art programs and sports. It would also create funding to provide resources for students with special needs, low-income students and other vulnerable populations, including Rainier’s student resource officer program. The SRO program provides a Thurston County Sheriff officer in the district every day.
The EP&O, according to the document, would also enhance community development and allow for future success. By voting in favor of an EP&O levy, the community contributes to the overall wellbeing and development of RSD students, the document stated.
Capital levy for safety, security, and maintenance repairs
The district views the newly proposed capital levy for safety, security and maintenance repairs as important for several reasons, including maintaining and improving facilities districtwide. Capital levies are often used to fund renovation, maintenance and improvements to school buildings and facilities.
The passing of the capital levy would also help create a positive learning environment through well-maintained and modern facilities. It would also allocate funds needed for safety upgrades, including security systems, fire alarms, earthquake-resistant construction and to protect students and staff in case of emergencies.
The overall lifespan of RSD school buildings would be extended with needed maintenance work and upgrades if the capital levy is passed. Voters deciding to pass the new levy would also support educational programs by providing upgraded technology and enhancing educational programs.
The district views the passing of the capital levy as an opportunity to boost property values, attract businesses to increase economic development and strengthen the sense of community pride. It would also allow for improvements to RHS’s football field and track, which would provide greater opportunities for RSD athletic programs, youth athletic programs and community members.