Submitted by North Thurston Public Schools

North Thurston Public Schools will have two measures on the February 13, 2024, ballot to provide funding for district programs and operations.

two young boys pose at a table, one with his arm around the other, both are smiing
Levies fund art activities around the district. Photo courtesy: North Thurston Public Schools

North Thurston Public Schools Replacement Education Programs and Operations Levy

The first measure is a replacement educational programs and operations (EP&O) levy. Voters will be asked to renew this four-year levy at the same estimated maximum tax of $2.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value. The EP&O levy funds programs and resources not fully funded by the state, such as science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, career and technical education (CTE) courses, special education, transportation, athletics and arts.

The EP&O levy makes up about 17.35% of the district’s budget. For every levy dollar:

  • 60 cents are spent on basic education enhancements, such as teachers, mental health support staff and supplies.
  • 20 cents are spent on special education (While the state provides $32 million to NTPS for special education, students need $45.7 million, a $13.7 million gap.)  
  • 15 cents are spent on facilities/operations such as fuel and support staff to transport students safely.
  • 5 cents are spent on athletics/activities such as art, drama, music and sports, which receive no state funding.

Levy funding helps provide programs and opportunities that meet the needs and interests of students, from theater to STEM.

“Our STEM program is growing, and students have so much interest in it,” said NTPS Ignite Family Academy Teacher Katie Tingle. “We provide robotics classes and foundational coding classes, and students learn computer skills and blend that with all other subject areas. They really are the future of the community, so it’s our job to provide them with the skills that they need and the confidence to be able to do it.”

“Stagecraft is the best-kept secret, and when students find out, they don’t want to leave it,” said Timberline High School Teacher and Theatre Technical Director Jeremiah Tuckett. “They get to learn how to work as a team, they get to learn industry standards in the theater, they get to have a creative outlet, and it just makes them more connected to their other classes.”

Three girls in track uniforms pose with arms folded on their chests.
North Thurston Public Schools students participate in a variety of athletic and other co-curricular activities funded by levies. Photo courtesy: North Thurston Public Schools

North Thurston Public Schools 4-Year Capital Levy

The second measure is a four-year capital levy for safety, technology and facilities improvement. This measure would provide dedicated funding for needed improvements. The estimated maximum tax rate is 77 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. As a large school district with 24 schools, maintaining school buildings to provide a quality learning environment is an ongoing focus for NTPS.

Examples of what the capital levy would fund:

  • Upgrades to the districtwide video security system, fire alarm system upgrades at Seven Oaks and Meadows Elementary Schools, and school parking lot improvements to reduce congestion.
  • Replacement of outdated student Chromebooks, Wi-Fi equipment upgrades, audio equipment and classroom technology updates and reader board replacements.
  • Sewer system upgrades at South Bay, Meadows, Olympic View and Lydia Hawk Elementary Schools
  • Roof replacements at Lakes and Lydia Hawk Elementary Schools, Chinook and Nisqually Middle Schools, South Sound Stadium and some portable classrooms
  • Parking lot resurfacing at Olympic View Elementary School
  • Exterior building improvements at Chambers Prairie Elementary
  • Boiler upgrades at Mountain View and Lakes Elementary Schools.
  • Expansion of the district’s preschool program through constructing classrooms on Marvin Road to serve additional preschool students and provide family-friendly space for parenting classes and other family supports.
  • Updates to school nutrition and food preparation systems districtwide, including renovation and replacement of refrigeration equipment at Horizons, Lydia Hawk, Mountain View, and Olympic View Elementary Schools, Nisqually Middle School, and Aspire Performing Arts Academy; dishwasher replacements at Horizons, Lacey, Lydia Hawk, Meadows, Olympic View, Seven Oaks and Lakes Elementary Schools.

“We serve over 10,000 meals a day, and we have snack programs, afterschool homework programs, and summer school programs,” said NTPS Director of Food and Nutrition Alicia Neal. “We have 12 prep kitchens, and we deliver food from those kitchens to other schools around the district.”

Neal added some of the older equipment, such as dishwashers, walk-in refrigerators, and freezers, need significant repairs or replacement.

The capital levy would upgrade security cameras and refresh computers and other equipment, such as iPads used in special education preschools and audio equipment teachers use to ensure students can hear and follow instructions.

“We use technology every day to enhance the learning process for students and teachers,” said Olympic View Elementary School Principal Brittany Anderson. “It makes it more engaging, allows us to differentiate and meet all of our learners, and makes it exciting.”

Learn more about the levies at the North Thurston Public Schools website.


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