A Community Website by Lopez Island
Please Vote Yes for School Technology (School System)
Lopez Island
July 16, 2020
Posted by Jesse Hammond, Lopez Island

My name is Jesse Hammond and I am urging you to vote YES on the Technology Capital Projects Levy Resolution #9 for the August 4th election. Ballots should arrive in your mailbox at the end of the week.

This levy is a renewal of the last 4-year school technology which runs from 2016-2020. The levy renewal will continue to provide essential technology services for students and staff for 2021-2025, however, there is a change in the cost to the taxpayer. The previous levy was for $150,000 a year while the current ask for the 2021 levy is $275,000. This would cost the local taxpayer $.19 per assessed $1,000 of property value. To help with the math, this would cost about $76 a year for the owner of a $400,000 parcel. The 2016-2020 levy was approved at 76% and cost folks $.13 Per $1,000. As of 2020, this rate has gone down to $.10, therefore, if the levy passes, the rate would go up $.09 per $1,000.

Why the increase? The previous school technology levy did not cover all of the technology costs that were needed to provide staffing, devices, connectivity, and many other services that are necessary to provide our students with a full education. Much of these services were purchased using general fund dollars since the levy dollars could not cover the full costs. Considering the massive hit the school budget has taken because of the legislative levy lid and the fact that the school cannot collect tax dollars overwhelmingly approved by our community, it makes sense to fully fund tech with tech levy dollars and provide relief to the school's general fund to save staff positions.

I would happily answer any questions and join in any discussion about the technology levy or school technology in general. Please reach out to me by phone 360.540.5072 or email pragmaticmusic@gmail.com. I can also forward your comment or concern to The Friends of Lopez Island School Technology Levy which is a group of community members advocating for this cause. Additionally, the Lopez Island PTSA and Lopez Island Education Foundation have a booth at the Saturday Market with information about the technology Levy.

I will leave you with the advocacy statement that is included in the voters' pamphlet for this election.

"In 2016, Lopez voters approved the four-year recurring Lopez Island School District Technology Levy with overwhelming support. This levy provided essential learning tools for all students at Lopez School including computers, software, network infrastructure, digital citizenship enrichment, and support staff. During the COVID19 school closure, Lopez students were well prepared to transition into virtual learning thanks to the 1:1 device initiative funded by this technology levy. All students currently have access to their teachers’ virtual classrooms, educational technology, and online resources from home.

The purpose of this renewal levy is to continue to support technology in education at Lopez School and to fund technology positions and programs. In prior years, technology purchases and personnel have been funded with both the technology levy and the school’s general fund. By renewing and expanding this levy, the District will be able to cover all tech-related expenses with these funds.

In light of the recent levy lid that has greatly impacted the District’s general fund dollars, this tech levy will absorb all tech-related expenses from the Lopez School budget, thus freeing up valuable dollars for other important school expenditures. In order to keep students prepared with 21st-century skills and safe while using these tools, we need recurring funding for technology at Lopez Island School District.

The Technology Capital Projects Levy Advocacy Committee, Lopez Island School Technology Committee, the Board of Directors, students, and staff encourage the Lopez community to vote yes on Technology Capital Projects Levy, Resolution #9."

Thank you for supporting our school!


Comment

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Disagree
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Jesse Hammond: Please Vote Yes for School Technology

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Thank you Lopez Island community for continuing to support our student's education. It takes a village to raise a child, tech is just one of the ways we can prepare our children for their future and this island culture supports our youth in a variety.... Read all
John Helding: Please Vote Yes for School Technology

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Tuesday night results: 68% Yes! for the Tech Levy. Bravo Lopez! Bravo Tech Committee and Supporters. Onwards.
John Helding: Please Vote Yes for School Technology

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Dan. The board was presented with several options by the tech committee. The highest option was $300,000 or twice what we had previously collected. And yes, the board decided to cut back from the maximum scenario by $25,000 to economize -- by not buying.... Read all
Dan Post: Please Vote Yes for School Technology

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John, as I recall this is how the amount of $275,000 was chosen. Yes there were three options by the tec committee and the School Board at the meeting made the determination on what amount it would chouse. And I am glad that Jesse can pull up the.... Read all
John Helding: Please Vote Yes for School Technology

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Bob, A final pass at a few more questions here:

1. The $275,000 levy amount was recommended by the school's tech committee and approved by the school board.
2. If passed by the voters (50% plus 1 vote) then the school will be allowed.... Read all
Chris Greacen: Please Vote Yes for School Technology

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Yes, Dan -- OSPI certifies the budgets after the school district sends them. And these budgets include budgeted enrollment. That's the way the system works.

The budgets for 2019-20 don't include actual enrollment because we haven't.... Read all
Dan Kovac: Please Vote Yes for School Technology

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Hi Chris
The State Office OF Public Instruction has a final CERTIFIED budget approved by Lopez School for 2019-2020 that shows an actual enrollment of 227.
Jesse Hammond: Please Vote Yes for School Technology

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Bob,

I'm sorry you feel that your questions aren't being answered, I will do my best.

The tech salaries are for the tech support person(me), our technology coach, tech support contracts with our ESD, and staffing for.... Read all
Bob Smith: Please Vote Yes for School Technology

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Chris, In an earlier post you said that the levy will include Salaries that will no longer come out of the General Fund. How many Salaries are we talking about?
Are they all for Tech People? How many Tech People are employed.Are the Salaries why.... Read all
Chris Greacen: Please Vote Yes for School Technology

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Hi Dan,

Standard policy with the Lopez School District is to budget conservatively for enrollment. The practice for many years has been to budget expected enrollment minus 10. So for 2019-20 the district expected 237, but budgeted for 227 as you.... Read all
Deleted by Dan Kovac: Please Vote Yes for School Technology
Dan Kovac: Please Vote Yes for School Technology

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Chris I get all my information from the State Superintendent Of Public Instruction web site that has all the certified budgets for every public School in the state. The Lopez budget shows a FTE of 227 for.... Read all
Chris Greacen: Please Vote Yes for School Technology

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Dan Kovac -- glad to hear you've been a solid supporter of levies and bonds.

One point -- it's not true that enrollment is going down by the numbers you claimed. Actual average enrollment in 2017-18 was 243 Full Time Equivalent.... Read all
John Helding: Please Vote Yes for School Technology

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Bob, thanks for the information and your high likelihood of supporting the tech levy. The school does understand the challenges for everyone of this moment in time and any and all support for the school greatly appreciated. Dan, you are right, the tech.... Read all
Dan Post: School Technology

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Bob, your figure of 1.565 Billion for the value of Lopez is not correct. You used the school tec tax as your base. The Lopez Island School District also includes some outer Islands like Center and Decatur so your figure is not just for Lopez..

.... Read all
Bob Smith: Please Vote Yes for School Technology

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OK, so this is what I got from the Assessors office. and it is a plus or minus due to this is from last years figures.

NOTE:I have rounded the numbers for easy math...such as I don't believe it is EXACTLY 10 cents per 1,000.

This.... Read all
Dan Kovac: Please Vote Yes for School Technology

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Covid 19 is running rampant, the economy is in a tailspin and we have no idea what school will look like this year or if there will even be school.
I just don't think this is the right time to be raising property taxes.
John you told me.... Read all
John Helding: Please Vote Yes for School Technology

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Bob, I am not sure if all of the exemptions -- senior taxpayer, timberland, etc. -- is or isn't taken into account in the overall assessed valuation. I believe it is, but if it is a critical issue for you to understand, then suggest you give the SJC.... Read all
Bob Smith: Please Vote Yes for School Technology

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OK, this is what I am trying to understand....I have an "APPRAISED VALUE", but since I get the Senior/disabled tax credit., I pay taxes on LESS THAN the appraised value. I am looking for the amount of TAXES ACTUALLY PAID ON and not.... Read all
Dan Post: Please Vote Yes for School Technology

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John, I do not believe that you are correctly reading the link. You say that Lopez has 1.45 billion in property values and that is not right. The link says “Assessed Value” and not property values. Big difference between the two as about 50% of the.... Read all
John Helding: Please Vote Yes for School Technology

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Point taken Dan, but the assessed value is what is used in conjunction with the tax rates to figure out what the total taxes collected are, and my understanding that's the question Bob was asking.
John Helding: Please Vote Yes for School Technology

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Hi Bob, good question and here's a link with all that information and more:

https://www.sanjuanco.com/164/Detail---Tax-Distribution-by-Taxing-Dist

As it shows, Lopez Island has about $1.45 billion in property value. The total.... Read all
Bob Smith: Please Vote Yes for School Technology

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It just seems obvious to me that SOMEONE would know how much TOTAL PROPERTY TAX is collected on Lopez.

How else would anyone know how much money the school would receive if each $100,000 dollar amount taxed at "X" amount ($0.19 in this.... Read all
Dan Post: Please Vote Yes for School Technology

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Jesse, thank you for the info but you are forgetting that property assessments are much higher on Lopez than in most parts of the mainland so we pay more in property tax. High values are why it is hard to buy a house on Lopez. Also keep in mind that.... Read all
Jesse Hammond: Please Vote Yes for School Technology

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Bob,

This is a great question. Historically, San Juan County has had very low property taxes. Even though homeowners have seen a jump in how much they are paying per year, San Juan property owners are still paying much less than others in our.... Read all
Bob Smith: Please Vote Yes for School Technology

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I am curious as to how much Lopez Island as a whole pays in property taxes.
Jesse, could you please tell us that number....or Maybe Dan Post can tell us. I have always been curious. When looking on Polaris I have often been amazed at how little.... Read all
Chris Greacen: Please Vote Yes for School Technology

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The tech levy IS about teachers -- it will pay salaries that are now coming from the district's general fund. As Jesse pointed out, the legislature, in its infinite wisdom, restricted our school (and dozens of others) from collecting about $400K per.... Read all
Taylor Trader: Please Vote Yes for School Technology

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In my opinion,I could only imagine that a handful of people on this island would be choosing to Not support our Youth. With that being said, I would believe that TEACHERS would be the most important thing to support our children! With these “Enormous.... Read all
Stephen Adams: Please Vote Yes for School Technology

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Voting for the Tech Levy directly supports our students. Budget shortfalls and school politics are bad excuses to avoid our responsibility.
James Rapson: Please Vote Yes for School Technology

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I hope Lopezians will not imagine that they are supporting students and teachers by voting "No" on the Levy. The students and teachers need this money, desperately.

There is a sizable shortfall in the budget - and for anyone who cares.... Read all
Dan Post: Please Vote Yes for School Technology

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My opinion. The School Board has lost sight of what is most important at the school. The most important thing should be the kids, but they are not. An elementary teaching position has been RIFed (let go, not re-hired, caned, fired). So that means.... Read all
Jesse Hammond: Please Vote Yes for School Technology

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Taylor, I would be happy to have a discussion with you more in-depth of how technology levy funds have been used historically and what the plan is for future funding granted that the levy has passed. I will say that tech dollars have gone to pay for.... Read all
John Helding: Please Vote Yes for School Technology

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Tim, glad you're planning to support the levy and the kids. Thank you. As to where all the money is going? Here is a link to the school website and a report on the financial trends and challenges the district is facing. And for one, you can see.... Read all
Tim Nurczyk: Please Vote Yes for School Technology

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I think I'll probably vote for this levy as it is just a short term stop-gap to make sure the kids don't lose out because the administrators don't know how to budget.

That being said, can we get an independent audit of the.... Read all
Taylor Trader: Please Vote Yes for School Technology

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So what I take from that Jesse, is this school district has been spending too much of its money on things other than its students or staff? That there is not enough money to keep a full staff this next year? Where does all the money go? Lawyers?.... Read all
Jesse Hammond: Please Vote Yes for School Technology

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Taylor, I'm sorry I wasn't clear enough in my post about how funding is actually allocated. This levy will fund positions and take the burden off of the general fund to save more positions beyond the scope of the technology levy. A majority of.... Read all
John Helding: Please Vote Yes for School Technology

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Hey Dan Kovac, haven't heard from you in a long time! Never a school levy, bond, or renovation that you wouldn't oppose,eh?

You know the overhead costs of Lopez Island School district have declined as a percent of our budget over the.... Read all
Tim Nurczyk: Please Vote Yes for School Technology

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I agree with Dan, this isn't a revenue issue, it is a resource allocation issue. It's $8,000 cheaper to send your kid to Spring Street, which many Lopezians find to be of higher quality.
Dan Kovac: Please Vote Yes for School Technology

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The Lopez School budget for 2018 & 2019
was $5,704,182.00 for 227 students. That
averages out to $25,128.55 per student.
Lopez School has 23.900 full- time teachers and 19.297 full-time staff that
is over 43 full-time employees for 227
.... Read all
Taylor Trader: Please Vote Yes for School Technology

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Why would we need more money for Tech in this school district when this school district cant even support its teachers? With a 1:1 devise ratio this year why would we need $75,000 more next year when every student and teacher have access? This school.... Read all