Magendanz introduces plan to help address the over-reliance on local levies

Rep. Chad Magendanz, has introduced a bill to provide essential transparency and accountability measures to ensure an end to unconstitutional over-reliance on local levies for funding school employee compensation.  House Bill 2965 would put into place accounting mechanisms that would enable auditors to more easily differentiate between expenses that are part of the state’s program of basic education and enhancements to that program that can be legitimately funded by local levies.

House Bill 2965 helps define our paramount duty by clarifying what school district expenses are the state’s responsibility to pay. The independent consultants collecting information on school district compensation spending throughout the state this summer would then have clear guidance to determine the state’s overall spending commitment to satisfy the 2012 McCleary ruling,” said Magendanz, R-Issaquah.

Key elements include identifying the salary and benefits paid as compensation for the state’s program of basic education, along with any additional amounts funded with local revenues or other sources. These guidelines would create better accountability on levy and local revenues expended that enhance state-provided staffing levels, allowing school boards and administrators to focus on that discretionary spending.

Beginning with the 2018-19 school year, school districts would track expenditures separately from basic education funding to account for the use of school levies and other local revenues for enhancements. School districts would provide a separate accounting of state, federal, and local revenues and expenditures, and a separate accounting of basic education and non-basic education expenditures.

School districts would also establish local revenue fund operations paid from levies or other local sources.  Money that districts deposit into the local revenue fund would include, but would not be limited to, maintenance and operations levies and local effort assistance (LEA) payments from the state.

“This clarification would go a long way towards helping lawmakers reach agreement on the most appropriate sources of new revenues needed to replace local levies for basic education by the 2018 deadline,” continued Magendanz.

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