Riverview schools lower 2011 levy, tax bills

By Carol Ladwig

Staff Reporter

Unusual action by the Riverview School Board in October has reduced district property owners' 2011 tax bill.

It's not a dramatic dip, but Director of Business and Operations Bill Adamo is pleased with the $13,000 reduction the board approved.

"If we ask the voters for less, that's advantageous to the district," he said.

The reduction is the result of a change in the state's formula for school funding, Adamo explained. The change was a way for school districts to backfill the loss of state revenue from budget cuts proposed earlier this year, by raising the maximum amount that school districts could tax property-owners in the district from 24.7 percent to 28.7 percent.

School districts in Washington are restricted on how much levy revenue they can collect for operations to "the smaller of two amounts," Admamo said—either the amount set by a voter-approved levy, or a state-calculated formula.

The state formula had not been announced before the district set its levy amount for last February's vote, so the board set the levy at its best estimate of operations cost for the next four years, $5,829,000 each year.

About 60 percent of Riverview voters approved the levy. However, when the state formula was increased, Adamo said, "The result was that we could go back to the voters and ask for the difference" between the initial levy amount and the higher amount possible with the higher tax limit set in the formula.

"That's what we did in August," he said.

The second levy, for $1,130,000, passed by 100 votes. Adamo said that the district was grateful for the community's support.

The combined levies, reduced by the $13,000 that exceeded the state's formula amount, will provide $6,946,000 in operations funding for the school district for the next four years, starting with the 2011-12 school year.

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