I urge Pasco and Franklin County voters to approve the 2014 Pasco School District maintenance and operations levy. Levy elections come up every two years, and this one renews the current levy that expires at the end of 2014. Local levy dollars plus state levy equalization funds (which are provided only if the local levy passes) account for 20 percent of the district's total operating budget, so passage is essential.
Pasco schools are holding the line on costs. In spite of a continually growing student population, the new levy is projected to come in at the same cost per $1,000 of assessed property value as the expiring one.
Because the state does not fully fund K-12 education, levy dollars are needed to make up for the shortfall. They do not pay for frills. They pay for essential school functions: 59 percent of levy dollars go to teaching and learning (teaching, counselors, librarians, school nurses, as well as art, music, and drama programs), 33 percent to maintenance and operations, including school buses and security, and 8 percent to extracurricular activities such as student clubs and sports. Your levy dollars are a critical investment in the future of our kids and our community.
WILLIAM PENNELL, Pasco