CAPTION: Five-Year Operating Local Option Tax

QUESTION: Should Reynolds School District impose $1.2996 per $1,000 of assessed value for general operations for five years beginning 2003-04? This measure may cause property taxes to increase more than three percent.

SUMMARY: Reynolds School District seeks additional operating funds due to a reduction in state school funding. The sudden and unexpected decline in the Oregon economy has caused a reduction in resources funding educational programs within the Reynolds School District. This local option levy restores instructional programs traditionally funded with state resources. It is the intent of Reynolds School District to reduce this local option levy once state resources are restored.

The tax rate is approximately $1.2996 per $1,000 of assessed value of property in the district. For property with an assessed value of $100,000, the tax would be $129.96. It is estimated the proposed rate will raise $4,796,045 in 2003-04, $4,987,887 in 2004-05, $5,187,402 in 2005-06, $5,394,898 in 2006-07 and $5,610,694 in 2007-08, for a total of $25,976,926. The educational total tax rate, including this special levy, would not exceed the Measure 5 limitation of $5 per $1,000 of real market value for the operation of schools.


Reynolds School District seeks voter approval on a Local Option Levy to preserve academic programs for its students. The major downturn in the state’s economy has caused the Oregon Legislature to reduce funds previously earmarked for schools in the 2002-03 school year. Further shortfalls are projected in the 2003-05 biennium. The loss of state funding means reduced educational opportunities for our students.

If approved, this money will be spent in the classroom where it most affects kids. Passage of the local option will help prevent teacher layoffs and larger class sizes. In addition to maintaining the student-teacher ratio, this money will be spent on classroom supplies such as paper and textbooks, and needed desks and chairs. It will not be spent outside the classroom.

It is becoming increasingly difficult for the district to maintain the educational programs needed for our growing number of students from state funding.

The Reynolds School District Budget committee approved a 2002-03 budget cut by $3.8 million from education requirement. The budget first targeted administration, including an administrator salary freeze, elimination of travel, dues, and fees, and the elimination of the following district office positions:

• The Co-ordinator of Community Services
• The Office of Technology Co-ordinator
• Curriculum Specialist
• Superintendent Secretary
• Instructional Secretary

While the first priority was to protect the classroom, the $3.8 million in budget cuts including reductions in supplies, educational support staff, textbooks, building maintenance, equipment, staff development, and elementary school teachers.

Since the adoption of the Reynolds School District budget in June 2002, the state revenue picture has continued to deteriorate. The Legislature has convened in June, August, and September to balance the state budget and adjust to further state revenue shortfalls. Continued uncertainty exists about the 2002-03 school district budget, and a state revenues are projected to be $1.5 billion below projected expenditures in the 2003-05 biennium.

The Local Option Levy was adopted by the 1999 Legislature as a way for school districts, if the voters approved, to increase local property taxes dedicated to the local school district. The passage of this local option levy on November 5, 2002, will create an opportunity for local taxpayers to provide necessary funds for academic programs to its local students. This is an opportunity for Reynolds School District to control its own destiny, and not wait for the Oregon Legislature in Salem to make all the decisions affecting Reynolds School District students.

The local option levy is set at $1.30 per thousand of taxable assessed value for a five-year period. A home assessed at $100,000 would pay an additional $130 per year in property tax for this levy. This levy will generate approximately $4.8 million in 2003-04, and be adjusted gradually for inflation each year to $5.6 million in 2007-08

If the Oregon Legislature adopts policy insuring a stable, funding source sufficient to fund educational programs for schools, the district may not levy this local option.

Submitted by:

Leon Austinson,
Director of Business Services
for Reynolds School District.

No arguments FOR or AGAINST this measure were filed.