Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions


When is the election for the OSD Educational Programs and Operations Replacement Levy? 

The proposed Educational Programs and Operations Replacement Levy will be on the February 13, 2024 Special Election ballot.


How do I register to vote?
There are several ways to register to vote, including online, by mail or in person. View information about voter registration for the February 13, 2024 Special Election on the Thurston County Elections Division website.

Where can I vote?
This Special Election is mail-only. Ballots will be mailed to voters in mid-January, 2024. Completed ballots must be mailed and postmarked by February 13, 2024 (no stamp needed) or dropped off postage-free in ballot drop boxes. For a list of ballot drop box locations, visit the Thurston County Elections Division website.


How much funding would the replacement levy generate for schools?

The levy would raise an estimated $177.3 million over four years (2025-2028).


  • 2025: $39,415,000

  • 2026: $42,529,000

  • 2027: $45,889,000

  • 2028: $49,514,000


What would the replacement levy pay for?
The replacement levy would continue to pay for programs and services that are not fully funded by state basic education funding. This includes some classroom and districtwide support staff such as paraeducators, custodians, social and mental health supports and security staff.

Levy funds would also help support middle and high school athletics and activities, transportation outside of the basic school day, special education, visual and performing arts programs, staff professional development, and maintenance and operations.

Is this a new tax?
No, the proposed replacement levy is not a new tax. The measure on the February 2024 ballot would replace an expiring four-year Educational Programs and Operations Levy approved by Olympia School District voters in February 2020.

What is the estimated tax rate of the Educational Programs and Operations Replacement Levy?
The estimated rate is a function of the final dollar amount of assessed value of the property within the school district. In October 2023, when the school board passed the levy resolution and based on information provided by the County Assessor’s office, the estimated maximum levy rate per $1,000 of assessed valuation is:

  • 2025: $2.50
  • 2026: $2.50
  • 2027: $2.50
  • 2028: $2.50


A summary of state law, historical district tax rates, and tax rates estimated for 2025-2028, are provided in a slide presentation shared with the Olympia School Board on October 12, 2023.


How much will the average homeowner pay for the replacement levy?

The tax rate of the current Educational Programs and Operations levy was estimated to be $1.93 in 2023. If this ballot measure is approved the tax rate may go up to as much as $2.50. The median home value in Thurston County is estimated to be approximately $500,000 (see source below). Using $500,000 as the median home value, the taxes payable will go from $965 to $1,250 per year, an increase of $285 annually.


In 2020 voters approved a tax rate of $2.50 per $1,000 of assessed value. State law limits the amount school districts may collect to the lesser of $2,500 per pupil (adjusted for inflation) or $2.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value. Our situation is such that we are limited to collecting the per pupil limit. Therefore, we do not assess the full voter-approved tax that our community approved. This limit remains in effect today. We estimate that property tax rates for the Educational Programs and Operations levy were $2.42 in 2020. Because of increases in property value, the tax rate fell to about $1.93 per $1,000 of assessed valuation in 2023. Without legislative changes, it is estimated tax rates for this levy will likely remain about the same.

Source: Report with median housing values, as used by the Office of Financial Management:


Why would the district put an amount on the ballot that is higher than the Levy Lid?

It is common practice for school districts to place levy resolutions on a ballot that exceed the allowable collection limit imposed by the state. School districts may do this for a variety of reasons.

A levy measure is in place for four years and the precise amounts that may be collected over those four years is unknown because districts estimate future collections using current forecasts. The variables include among other items: enrollment counts, inflationary factors and assessed property values.

It is quite costly and labor-intensive for a district to run a ballot measure, and to avoid future costs, districts will often build in extra contingency for variation in assumptions.

The Legislature has from time to time changed the levy lid. In order to be responsive to future legislative changes and avoid the high cost of another election, a district may choose to build in capacity to be responsive to an increase in the levy lid. For example, during the Great Recession, the state cut state funding and increased the levy lid.


Are there tax exemptions for low-income senior citizens and people with disabilities?
Yes. Low-income senior citizens and people with disabilities may qualify for a tax exemption. For more information, visit the Thurston County Assessor’s website, or call the County Assessor’s Office at (360) 867-2200.

How many votes are required by state law to pass a school levy?
School levies require a majority vote — 50 percent plus one — to pass.

Where can I get more information about the school district’s proposed Educational Programs and Operations Replacement Levy?
Check back for updates to this FAQ webpage, as well as information and resources posted on the Replacement Levy 2024 webpage. Questions may be emailed to [email protected].