‘Enrichment’ keeps up past support, but growth also requires more

LYNDEN ­— The Lynden School District announced last week that two levies will likely be put to voters in a February 2020 election.

An enrichment levy, what used to be called for maintenance and operations, is needed to continue support beyond the four-year levy passed in 2016. Also, the Lynden School Board is considering a capital levy focused on technology and facilities needs. 

Superintendent Jim Frey said the funding request is partly related to the growing student population across the district, along with challenges related to state funding and keeping up already existing programs. 

“When we have larger populations, the amount of money we get for those from the state doesn’t keep up with the growing demand,” Frey said. “Same thing for facilities. There’s just challenges there to maintain when there’s also other demands and resources because of a growing population.”

The enrichment levy amount sought will be about 10 to 15 percent of the district’s total budget. Frey said the district is spending more than what it receives from the state in order to run some of its programs. 

The capital levy would include technology, facility maintainance and safety, mostly consisting of larger projects that don’t fit well into the district’s general budget because of their cost. 

The costs for supplies, materials, maintaining programs and services will continue to rise in a growing school district, and he believes the community wants to maintain those levels. The need is seen specifically in the technology provided for students in classrooms, Frey said. 

“Significant projects in school safety we’ve been able to make headway on in our general fund budget, but in order to complete those we need additional funds. Otherwise they get put on hold,” Frey said. 

The district is currently working on a prioritized list, so voters can see exactly what the money asked for would be going toward. Frey said he expects that to be ready sometime in early October. 

“The enrichment levy is more general in that it supports all programs, but we can identify what those are and what level,” he said. “The capital levy is specifically around technology and facilities. We’ll have specific projects and items attached to that.”