FAQs

Find the Answers to Your Questions

Q: Why should I support renewal of our local option school levy?

A: The top three reasons:

  1. The school levy keeps our schools strong
  2. This is a renewal at the same rate you are already paying
  3. The high quality of Lake Oswego's schools is linked to high property values in our community


Q: What is the school levy?

A: The local option school levy provides Lake Oswego with local control of its schools. The levy supplements state funding and provides important and necessary revenue for the level of educational programs, teaching positions, and class sizes we want for the schools in our community. Our school levy keeps Lake Oswego schools among the best in Oregon.


Q: Why do we need a school levy?

A: Measure 5, which passed in 1990, was a property tax limitation measure which also changed the way schools are funded in Oregon. Funding authority was transferred from the local level to the state level, and schools are now funded using a formula that equalizes funding across districts statewide. Since the passage of Measure 5, state funding has never been sufficient for the level of educational programs and services provided by the Lake Oswego School District.


Q: How long has the LOSD had a local option levy?

A: The first local option school levy was approved in 2000, and it was renewed in 2004 and 2008.


Q: What does our school levy provide?

A: It is difficult to overstate the importance of the school levy. It provides additional teaching positions, allows the district to offer the breadth of coursework our high achieving student population demands, and helps to minimize class sizes. (Source: Lake Oswego School District Revenues and Expenditure Forecast, January 28, 2013)


Q: What percentage of the school budget does our school levy represent?

A: The school levy currently makes up about 10% of the general operating budget of the Lake Oswego School District.

 

Q: What would happen if our local option school levy were not renewed?

A: Because the legislature has steadily reduce the amount of money it provides for local school funding, without our school levy, the district would have to cut 10%, or approximately $7 million, out of its general operating budget beginning in 2015–16 to preserve core subjects. Reductions of this magnitude would profoundly impact every aspect of school programs and educational services, including teaching positions, class sizes, and course offerings, and could have long-term negative consequences on our community and property values.

 

Q: I don’t have any kids in the schools. Why should I vote for the school levy renewal?

A: Lake Oswego is a strong and vibrant community because we highly value education and the quality of our schools. If we do not renew our school levy, our schools will suffer. A strong school system is very strongly correlated with high property values. (Source: Summarized in "Public Schools and Economic Development: What the Research Shows" by Jonathan D. Weiss for Knowledge Works Foundation.) If we don't renew our school levy, property values are likely to decline as parents are no longer willing to pay higher prices for a school system that does not stand out as it once did.


Q: Will my property tax rate go up if we renew our school levy?

A: No. Renewing our school levy will simply continue the levy as it has been for more than 10 years. The local option school levy would continue to be assessed at $1.39 per $1,000 of assessed value. For a $350,000 home, that is less than $41 a month. Check your property tax statement for the "Local Option School Levy" item to determine how much you currently pay.


Q: Doesn't Lake Oswego have one of the highest property tax rates in the area?

A: Lake Oswego's property tax rate is lower than the rate in Oregon City, West Linn, Wilsonville, Sherwood, Beaverton, Milwaukie, and Portland. (Source:City of Lake Oswego, cited in April 9, 2013 City Council meeting packet, page 6.)


Q: What percentage of the school budget does our school levy represent?

A: The school levy currently makes up about 10% of the budget of the Lake Oswego School District.


Q: Who votes on our school levy?

A: All registered voters in the Lake Oswego School District—not just those who pay property taxes or who have children in public schools—can vote for the school levy.


Q: Will passing the school levy mean that there will be no more school cuts?

A: The District must continue to make targeted reductions due to the level of state funding for schools. That’s why renewal of the school levy is so important: It provides a lifeline of stable support, minimizing the reductions that would be necessary due to the volatility of state school support.

 

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