Elect Sandy Hershelman


It's About Time. . .
. . .for a Change!
. . .for an Independent Commissioner!
. . .for a More Affordable Jefferson County!


Reprinted from Chimacum School Matters
December 2007


Chimacum Schools' levies remain constant

Each time I read a newspaper article on the recent property revaluations, I cringed. It wasn't the fact that the assessed value of my house took a major leap that rattled my cage. It was that each headline read something like, "Chimacum School District taxes skyrocket." I know how school levies work. I knew the local school tax portion of my taxes would barely budge. But I also knew the perception of 96% of the readers was that the school was going to be getting a ton more money. Let's set the record straight: It's not.

As far as property values are concerned, "Chimacum School District" is merely the name of the area the assessor revalued. In 1968, it became law that all properties must be revalued every four years. At the time, using the school district boundaries as the valuation areas made sense: Mainte-nance and operation levies would be fair to all, as all property values in the district would be adjusted at the same time. The four districts were divvied up with about 25% of the parcels each. (Today, CSD has about one third of the parcels.)

With my "Official Valuation Change Notice" in hand, I met with Jefferson County Assessor Jack Westerman. My cracker box on a postage-stamp-size lot in Hadlock went up 72.9% since 2003. Turns out that was the typical residential increase for the revaluation area; 2003-2007 had the greatest increase in market values in the 32 years Westerman's been assessor.

"Chimacum Schools is not receiving one penny extra from the revaluation. The amounts of money collected have already been approved by the voters," Westerman said. "The revaluation will result in levy rates dropping significantly."

My 2008 local school tax bill will increase less than $4 from 2007. The one-year transportation levy drops off before the 2008 tax bill comes. (For me, $22.14 was for three new buses.)

For senior citizens and the disabled using a school levy exemption, the valuation was frozen the year they first got their waiver. Timberland and open space didn't change much at all this last revaluation. Including commercial, the entire tax base increased 53%.

The amount people pay in 2008 for the state school levy will be substantially higher than 2007, but CSD won't see a dime, Westerman explained. The money is not allocated based on what a county collects; the schools get paid per pupil—and enrollment is declining.

When Dan Evans was governor (1965-1977), the state took over collection of federal forest funds. The logic was that the state pays for education and no district should get more than another. Well, the truth is that the state pays for about 68% of CSD's annual budget—and the kids in downtown Seattle now benefit as much from federal forest funds earned in our county, as do students in Quilcene, Brinnon and the Chimacum School District.

Download a print quality .pdf of the above.

Download a print quality .pdf of the entire Chimacum School District
December 2007 newsletter

(4.18MB; huge!)

Contact Sandy at 360.385.1087
or hershelman@cablespeed.com


Elect Sandy Hershelman
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Port Hadlock, WA 98339


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