Levy vs. Lottery for local school districts - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Levy vs. Lottery for local school districts

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School levy ballots are due Tuesday, Feb. 9th. Many districts in the Tri-Cities area are asking voters to replace expiring tax levies.

Ballots must postmarked or turned in to your county  auditor's office by the 9th. But some voters are asking, do the school's really need the levy money? It's causing a little bit of confusion as the ballot deadline approaches.

So just how important is the levy money? The three school districts in the Tri-Cities rely on levy money for about 1/5 of their entire budgets. It is not the largest portion of their funding, but they say it still is vital.

Some viewers have emailed or called asking about lottery proceeds, inquiring "Aren't they supposed to help?" We found out they factor into the overall state money given to local school, but state funding has gone down each year.

Steve Aagaard, with the Richland School District said, "Actually over the years the percentage the state gives the school districts across the state has slowly been eroded so more and more school districts...not just Richland, Tri-Cities and statewide...more and more are dependent on the levy."

Richland School District officials say mail-in ballots have hurt voting in favor of the levies because people against levies are more likely to mail in a ballot rather than go to the polls.