Letter to the editor: State doesn’t provide enough funding; support Toledo levy


I have two children enrolled in the Toledo School District (TSD).

As a member of the community, a landowner, a taxpayer and a parent, I am surprised at the fight against the school levy. I keep asking myself; why are folks so against it? It seems like a no brainer to me.

But, I don’t know everything, and I want to understand. So, I started listening. And what I’ve heard are a lot of concerns, all seeming to center around money.

Sure, I get it. Our money is precious.

We work hard for it, and we certainly don’t want to give it away.

In response, I did some research. I went to meetings, talked with the community and asked questions on Facebook.

Here’s what I’ve discovered: most of these complaints and concerns are stemmed in misinformation.

The most common story I hear is “levy dollars are just icing on the cake.” Let’s discuss this argument, and why it is misinformed, continuing with the cake metaphor. Who doesn’t love cake?

I met with the business manager of TSD recently, who spent some time explaining school funding to me and how it works. Here’s what I learned.

First, I learned about the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). OSPI has basic requirements for K-12 education, including the number of teachers and staff and benchmarks for education. The “cake recipe.” For example, OSPI requires an average student/teacher ratio of 17 to 1 across the district. This is variable based on grade; K-3 ratios are 13:1, while high school are 25:1.

Second, OSPI provides “basic education funding” for schools across the state. The “ingredients for the cake.” Looking closer at these numbers. The ingredients provided by OSPI don’t fulfill the recipe required.

For example, OSPI requires an average student/teacher ratio of 17 to 1, right? Toledo reported enrollment of 810 students to OSPI in 2023-2024. That’s a minimum of 47.6 teachers to meet OSPI requirements. So, they get that funding, right? Unfortunately, no. OSPI only provided funding for 35.3 teachers. How about nurses? OSPI requires one nurse for the district, but only funds a part-time nurse.

Long story short, the state gives us the cake recipe, but doesn’t provide the ingredients required to make the cake. Out of the 295 schools in the state, eight operate on basic funding alone. They are remote, small (less than 150 students each) and have very limited extra-curricular activities and sports, if any.

What’s a district to do? OSPI says “on top of basic education funding, school districts can apply for grants; receive targeted funding for specific purposes; or raise levy funds within their local community.”

That’s right. Levy funds. I now understand what the levy is and why they’re asking. This money isn’t icing. We haven’t even made the cake yet. School districts need the support of their community to prepare the cake. All they’re asking for are the ingredients to make sure the cake is successful.

Vote yes for Toledo schools.

All information cited can be found at https://ospi.k12.wa.us/policy-funding


Audrey Herschberger