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Educational Programs & Operations Levy 2024

April 23, 2024 – Unfortunately, it appears the renewal of the Educational Programs and Operations Levy fell short of the votes needed to pass.

The state does not fully fund K-12 education. School districts like Moses Lake rely on local voter-approved levies to bridge the gap between what the state funds and what our students need. 


This levy would have continued funding for the safety and health of students and schools, including funding for school resource officers, nurses, counselors and librarians. The levy also would have continued funding for maintenance of school buildings and student opportunities, like arts, music, theater and athletics, which the state does not fund. 


We will work with our staff to determine next steps in how to move forward with our budget, given the loss of these funds. We cannot re-run this levy until 2025.


A huge thank you to the staff, families and community who attended meetings, asked questions, took our survey and provided feedback on our levy request. We will continue to focus our efforts and dedication to the success and wellbeing of all our students.

Information & Facts
The current levy is set to expire in 2024, and a proposed levy is on the April 23, 2024 ballot. Federal funds are only a fraction of what MLSD needs for basic education for K–12. Local levy dollars make up the remaining funds to help our schools prepare students for future success. The proposed levy maintains our school programs to continue to provide educational and extracurricular services for our learning community. 
Ballots mail beginning April 5th, 2024
Don't forget to mail your vote by April 23rd!
Levies are for Learning – A levy is a local property tax passed by voters of the Moses Lake School District that generates revenue to fund programs and services that the state does not pay for as part of basic education. Levy dollars are pooled with state funds to pay for programs and services that provide opportunities beyond basic education.
The levy enables the district to supply technology to students, offer a variety of electives, maintain facilities, and provide essential staff that enhance learning experiences and coach athletics and activities. The levy does NOT pay for new buildings (see What is a Bond? below).
  • Districts may choose to run a levy no more than twice per calendar year. Approval to run a levy comes from the Board of Directors. 
  • The Board voted to replace the current levy with $2.00 per $1,000 assessed value.
  • If the levy passes, the district receives matching funds from the state for two years. Levies require a simple majority to pass (50% +1)
If approved, the two-year levy will be a $2.00 rate per $1000 assessed property value. The total collection amount being proposed for the Levy is $34.7 million, which will be collected over a two-year period: $15,786,724 in 2025 and $18,944,069 in 2026. We cannot collect more than the total collection amount proposed.
If property values go up, do local schools get more funding? No. Property taxes may fluctuate, but the district only collects the total amount approved by voters. Property values may rise or fall, but according to state law, schools collect no more than the total dollar amount voters approve. When property values rise then rates go down. Conversely, if property values fall then rates rise to ensure property taxpayers only contribute the amount approved by voters. Click here to watch a short video to learn more.


Here is a look at historic and projected tax rate collection per $1,000 assessed property value for schools in Moses Lake. 
historic and projected tax rates
The district will receive $7.5M less in annual state funding. To continue maintain the current opportunities and staffing for student safety and well-being, a $2.00 levy is proposed. 
The Moses Lake School District will qualify for state matching funds, but only if the levy is approved. Here is an example of the 2024 estimated state match funding for the current levy (2021-2024).
$8,121,113 (local levy funds)
$7,101,779 (state match funds)
= $15,228,892 (total collection for MLSD)
The levy supports student learning for future leaders! Levy funds are allocated to staffing, resources, and equipment that is not funded or not entirely funded by the state, such as:

Essential Staff for Safe Schools Nurses, counselors, librarians, substitutes, behavior specialists, resources officers, security officers, technology support, paraeducators, bus drivers, IT staff

Programs & Opportunities for Students and the Community Musical instruments, clubs, community swimming pool use, 5th grade swimming/water safety program, library, K–8 art and music, PE equipment, on-time graduation, highly capable programs, school sports, and athletics

Equipment & Maintenance for Safer Schools Textbooks, technology, 1:1 Initiative program (Chromebooks), transportation and buses, operational expenses, safety and security programs, ongoing maintenance of facilities

pie chart of funding
Funding provided by the state does not fully cover the actual costs of operating a school district. Levies bridge the gap in this funding and allow us to provide things like teachers, support staff, supplies and materials, or services that the state only partially funds.
Here is an example of the gap in funding for employees at Moses Lake School District:
staffing shortfall


# Funded by State (23-24)

# Employed by MLSD (23-24)


Security & SROs












Tech Support









buildA bond provides funding for capital projects such as purchasing property for schools, constructing new schools, or modernizing existing schools. Bonds are sold to investors who are repaid with interest over time from property tax collections, generally between 10-25 years. Bonds require a super-majority to pass (60%). 

learnA levy is a short-term, local property tax passed by the voters of a school district that generates revenue for the district to fund programs and services that the state does not fund or fully fund as part of “basic education.” Levies require a simple majority to pass (50% + 1). The 2021 three-year levy with a rate of $1.50 per $1000 assessed tax is set to expire in 2024. The 2024 two-year levy is proposed at $2.00 per $1,000 assessed tax. 

(Your home value) ÷ 1000 = (Total)
(Total) x $2.00 = Cost per year in local levy 
For a home valued at $300,000, a Moses Lake homeowner would pay $600 per year in local levy or $50 per month. 
Example – INDUSTRY
For a local industry valued at $50 million, a Moses Lake business owner would pay $100,000 per year in local levy or $8,333 per month. 

Our revenue comes from three main sources:

STATE Our primary source of revenue is from the state. The state allocates school funds based on the number of students we have and other considerations.  

FEDERAL We also receive general fund revenue from the federal government. Most of those dollars can only be used for specific programs, such as special education or extra help for students from low-income families.

LOCAL We currently receive revenue from local property taxes in the form of a school levy. This levy plays a crucial role in providing our students with a comprehensive and high-quality education. It helps cover expenses that the state doesn't fully fund, including activities, athletics, arts, music, libraries, safety, and security.


Here are the revenue sources for the 2023–2024 school year:

current revenue sources


Below are approximate visual graphics of the
estimated revenue sources for the
2024-2025 school year:

estimate with levy


estimate no levy

A simple majority is required to pass the levy– 50% +1
If a levy fails, districts are typically forced to make cuts to programs, services, and staff that students benefit from. The district would start preparing a budget for the next school year assuming dramatically reduced funding. Loss in revenue starting in January 2025 impacts the entire 2024-2025 school year, including employment contracts and staffing decisions.
Voter Information and Resources
The special election is on April 23, 2024.

Ballots must be postmarked by this date if mailed or returned to a ballot drop box by 8 p.m. on election day.  

Start your online registration on Washington’s election website. You can also register to vote by mail or in person on Washington’s election website.

You can confirm your voter registration status on Washington’s election website

For more information about voting in Grant County, visit:

You can drop off your ballot at the following ballot drop box location in Moses Lake: 

  • 321 Balsam St., Moses Lake  (drive through at the back just before city payment drop box) 
  • Online registration deadline: 8 days before Election Day
  • Mail in registration deadline: Must be received 8 days before Election Day
  • In-person registration deadline: Available up to and including on Election Day

To register to vote in Washington, you must be:

  • A citizen of the United States
  • A legal resident of Washington state for at least 30 days before election day
  • At least 18 years old by election day
  • Not disqualified from voting due to a court order
  • Not currently serving a sentence of total confinement under the jurisdiction of the Department of Corrections for a Washington felony conviction
  • Not currently incarcerated for a federal or out-of-state felony conviction


To register online, you will need:

  • A current Washington State driver license, or
  • A current Washington State ID card

16 and 17-year-olds can now pre-register to vote!

Registrants under 18 will have their registrations held until they become eligible to vote.

Beginning in 2022, 17-year-olds who are pre-registered to vote will be able to vote in the August Primary Election and Presidential Primaries as long as they turn 18 before the following November General Election. Reference RCW 29A.08.210

Senior Citizen & People With Disabilities may qualify for an exemption from all or part of your property tax on your residence in Grant County if you meet specific requirements. For details, visit the Grant County Auditors website.


On Monday, March 25,  Moses Lake School District hosted a community forum to share information and answer questions about the upcoming Educational Programs & Operations Levy on the April 23, 2024 special election ballot.

🎥 Watch a recording of the forum here


Below are the results from the community survey issued to staff, families and community members March 13–21, 2024