Fife Public Schools
A Message from Superintendent Alfano
February 1, 2022
Dear Fife Public Schools Family,
One week from today is February 8th, voting day in Pierce and King counties! I wanted to share with you again our Educational Programs & Operation (EP&O) Levy and our Capital Projects Technology Levy information, as this is a very important vote for the continuity of our school district.
I get many questions about the difference between levies and bonds. There is a saying in education around local levies and bonds: “Levies are for Learning - Bonds are for Building!” Back in 2018 Fife Public Schools had both an EP&O levy and a construction bond on the ballot. As you know, we were successful with both because of the overwhelming support our community has for our schools. This is a long standing tradition in Fife, Milton and Edgewood! The support of our schools goes back far before I came to Fife Public Schools in 1998. In fact, many of you reading this letter are former students, alumni of FHS, and for some of you, even your parents and grandparents are!
The bond vote in 2018 has been a HUGE success, as we were able to address many of our aging building issues with the rebuild of SLMS, the new Fife Elementary School, the STEAM addition at FHS, new office designs at CJH, Discovery and Hedden, new roofs at CJH and Hedden, and mechanical upgrades throughout all buildings!
Every four years we ask our community for the continuation of the levy, as you can see below. Next week's vote simply asks for another four years of our EP&O Levy and another six years on our technology levy. As I stated last month, I can’t stress enough that both of these levies are replacement levies - a continuation of current levies that are expiring at the end of 2022. Neither is a new tax or levy.
The following will explain in detail how your levy dollars are used by the district.
Educational Programs & Operations (EP&O) Levy
Fife Public Schools relies on three (3) primary sources of revenue to support our schools - state funds (70%), federal funds (13%), and local approved levies (17%). The EP&O levy fills the gap of resources needed that are not funded by state and federal agencies. It provides important funding for special education, health services, psychologists, counselors, and additional teachers and support staff to keep class sizes low. These levy funds also support student safety, extra-curricular activities, sports, transportation, and instructional materials.
The cost of these two important levies are expected to increase in the first year by approximately $2.25 per month based on a home assessed value of $300,000. Subsequent years are estimated to result in a decrease per month. Fife Public Schools is proud to have one of the lowest rates in Pierce County. The chart below shows our district compared to our neighbors.
Instructional Technology Levy
On February 8th, you'll also have the opportunity to vote on an Instructional Technology Levy. This is a reinstatement of our current technology levy and will be used to carry forward the many great technology improvements made in recent years.
A significant focus for this past technology levy was around digital equity. We wanted to ensure that every student had access to the digital learning tools they would need to be successful. The most significant move towards digital equity was to implement a 1:1 program, providing a Chromebook for every student in the district, and allowing teachers to count on every student having access to a device at any time. It was because of this levy we were able to pivot to remote learning so efficiently when the COVID pandemic arrived. With this past technology levy, we also made necessary upgrades to staffing, staff-training, network infrastructure, and digital curriculum to support our 1:1 program.
With a reinstated technology levy, we'll be refreshing student and staff devices, continue to make improvements in our infrastructure and support systems, and upgrade the instructional (presentation) equipment in classrooms to meet the needs of today's learning environments.
What did we do with the previous technology levy?
Successfully implemented a student 1:1 program, providing a Chromebook for every student in the district
Expanded digital curriculum and communications tools
Upgraded network infrastructure to support 1:1 including Wi-Fi access points in every classroom
Transitioned students and staff to remote learning during the COVID pandemic
Replaced phone system (in coordination with building bond program)
Added staffing and staff training to support our 1:1 program
How will this reinstated technology levy help students and teachers?
Refresh our student 1:1 Chromebooks
Refresh our staff computers
Upgrade classroom instructional/presentation technology
Improve and maintain our technology infrastructure, network, software, and data systems
Continue staffing and staff training to support best-use of instructional technology
Additional information is provided in your voter’s pamphlet sent to you from either King or Pierce County. You should have both your voter's pamphlet and your mail in ballot at this point. If not, please reach out to your county officials to inquire. Also, and in the meantime, please feel free to review information on our website at this link.
Thank you for your continued support. Fife Public Schools is proud to serve our community!