The Kennewick School Board will hear preliminary information about the upcoming operations levy at its meeting tonight.
The new proposal is not expected to raise property taxes above current levels within the district.
Voters approved a levy last year, which runs out at the end of 2012. The district is expected to place a levy on the February 2012 ballot. That property tax then would go into effect at the beginning of 2013, immediately after the current levy expires.
Districts increasingly rely on local tax money to operate schools, as state and federal dollars have dwindled in recent years. The levy would cover operational expenses only. The money raised from it does not go toward building or renovating schools.
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To get the levy on the Feb. 14 ballot, the district would have to submit all paperwork to the county auditor by Dec. 30, said Vic Roberts, district business manager.
The board is expected to pass a resolution in November to run the levy.
The current levy tax rate is $3.21 per $1,000 property value, or $321 for a $100,000 home, Roberts said. Next year's rate is estimated to be $3.28 per $1,000 property value, based on current assessed home values in the district, he said.
The district does not expect to raise that rate for 2013, the first year covered by the levy that will be voted on in February, Roberts said.
"It will stay close to $3.28," he said.
This means the district will have to rely on its savings and on cuts to balance its budget, because state money is certain to decrease over the next year.
New homes finished before the next levy goes into effect will slightly boost the district's income from property taxes, Roberts said. But they will also bring in more students, which will drive up expenses.
The district is prepared to lean on its reserves once more, after already doing so in the current fiscal year, Roberts said.
"We figured it'd be a two-year deal," he said.
The Kennewick School Board meeting is at 5:30 p.m. tonight at the administration center, 1000 W. Fourth Ave.