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April 2020 Levy Replacement Information and Resources (Coming Soon)

Information for the April 2020 Replacement Levy will be posted in this section of the page when available.

Levy Frequently Asked Questions

The levy pays for everyone we employ and everything we do that is not funded by the State. The State provides us dollars on what they call “the prototypical school model.” According to this model, our School District receives funding for less than one full-time nurse for all ten of our school sites. We employ four nurses. The other three are paid for our of levy dollars. In almost every staff category, we employ more people than funded by the State formula.

The levy also pays for things like our extracurricular activities and sports programs, our School Resource Officer and safety programs, and a significant portion of the technology we have in the District.

For a more complete list of what we will need to cut to reduce our budget by $7.2 million, please refer to the PowerPoint that can be accessed on this webpage.

A levy is a short-term local property tax passed by the voters of a school district. A local levy can be approved for up to four years. Currently, Ferndale voters are being asked to consider a two-year levy at $2.17 per thousand of assessed value which will be for the calendar years 2021 and 2022.

Yes. All seven Whatcom County public school districts asked voters for levy renewals in February 2020. School districts in Ferndale, Bellingham, Meridian, Mt. Baker, Lynden, Nooksack, Blaine each had local levies on respective February ballots. Ferndale's levy renewal request was the only Whatcom County school district request that did not pass.

Statewide, nearly all school districts rely on local levies for a portion of their budgets. Of the 295 districts in Washington, 145 of them asked for levy renewals in February 2020.

The State will allow the School District to run the levy two times in a calendar year.

The state has established election dates when a levy measure may be put to voters for consideration. Those elections dates are February 11, April 28, August 4, or November 3.

Voters considered a first request in February 2020 at a rate of $2.50 per thousand of assessed value. That request was not approved. The Board has chosen to rerun the levy in the April 28th election at the $2.17 rate for two years.

A levy is like a magazine subscription. If you do not renew a magazine subscription, you stop getting the magazine. In the same way, if we do not renew our levy, the local levy funding runs out on December 31, 2020 -- which means all of the programs supported by the levy will lose their funding at that time. 

The State Legislature’s formula for basic education falls below the current levels of staffing and services provided by our School District. To make up the difference, the State requires districts to rely on local school levies. The Ferndale School District, like all of the other school districts in Whatcom County and almost all of the other districts in the State, require levies to maintain acceptable levels of staffing and services.

The current rate 2020 levy rate is $2.17 per thousand of assessed value.

This is not a new tax. It is a replacement levy. We have an existing levy that expires at the end of 2020. Our current 2020 levy rate is $2.17 per thousand of assessed value. We are asking voters to replace the expiring levy at exactly the same rate - $2.17 for calendar year 2021 and 2022.

A levy provides money to help the district fund day-to-day school programs and operations. It bridges the gap between State funding and the cost of current programs and helps pay for things like teacher salaries, classroom materials, transportation, and extracurricular activities. 

By contrast, a bond pays for capital projects, mainly new construction and remodeling of existing buildings. The majority of the money from District’s 2019 bond will fund the construction of a new Ferndale High School facility.

The short answer is no. We have 29 people doing administrative/leadership work in our district in 2019, and we had 29 people doing administrative/leadership work in 2009. For more information on this topic -- and a complete list of administrators from 2009 and administrators in 2019 -- refer to the PowerPoint (specifically slides 45-53) at this link on our levy page.

In the chart below, we have provided a numerical comparison of our student and staff numbers from 2009 and 2019. Please note that all of the numbers are reported in FTE (for Full Time Equivalency).

  2009 2019 difference
Student Enrollment 4,588.23 FTE 4,469.58 FTE -118.65
Certificated Staff 335.13 FTE 326.12 FTE -9.01
Classified Staff  196.94 FTE 217.10 FTE +20.16

If the District were to sell the property on Church Road, the proceeds from the sale cannot legally be put into the general fund to offset lost levy dollars. These funds would need to be used for capital projects.

We are educating students at Beach at very close to the same per pupil rate as we are educating students in our mainland elementary schools, so closing Beach would not save us money. In fact, it might even cost us more to transport the Beach population to the mainland.

Students riding the ferry to and from school are not required to pay a fare. In addition, one adult chaperone is allowed to ride the ferry free to accompany mainland children who commute back and forth to Lummi Island to attend Beach School.

No. At the time that we ran the bond, the Legislature had set a cap of $1.50 per thousand maximum for local levies. When projecting future tax rates and amounts during bond discussions, the District used the $1.50 / assessed value because there was not another number to use. At the time, that was the number that we had to work with.

The Legislature has since raised the cap to $2.50 because they determined that the $1.50 was not enough. School districts across the state were announcing they were going to be insolvent without an increase in revenue. The Ferndale School District is asking voters to renew the levy at $2.17 per thousand of assessed value - a rate below the $2.50 maximum.

Ferndale School District Levy News and Information

PowerPoint Resource Following February 2020 Levy Failure

The following presentation was created and shared following the levy failure on the February 2020 ballot as the Ferndale School Board considered next steps. It provides information about what no levy funding could mean in the Ferndale School District and proposed cuts.
This presentation was first shared at the February 17th, 2020 School Board Meeting. Versions of this PowerPoint were shared at the School Board Meeting, an optional all-staff meeting and at two Community Forums during a time span of February 17 to February 24.
The Ferndale School Board then voted at its February 25, 2020 meeting to place the levy on the April 2020 ballot at a rate of $2.17 per $1,000 of assessed value.
Please note, this presentation has been revised in several version updates as the school district discusses, evaluates and refines how our budget may be impacted. We will provide any further updates and revisions to the presentation information on this website page with revision dates noted. 

(Revised Version 2/24/20) Levy Failure: Next Steps

​​​​​​Archived February 2020 School Programs & Operations Replacement Levy Resources
Archived Facebook Live Broadcasts