February Levy Measures
Three levies will be on the February 13, 2018 ballot: Educational Programs & Operations Levy, Technology & Capital Projects Levy, and School Bus Levy. Passing these levies will allow us to maintain the high quality programs and services our students currently receive.
Cost to Homeowners
If these three levies are passed, we expect property tax rates to decline over the four-year period. The local school tax rate will decrease from $2.93 in 2017 to $2.58 in 2022. This amount includes the cost of bonds previously approved by voters for the construction of new buildings.
Isn’t Education ‘Fully Funded’?
Our budget includes state funding, local property tax levy dollars, and other local and federal monies. Local levies fund 28 percent of the total budget. The recent increases in state funding shifts the responsibility of fully funding salaries and benefits from local funding to state funding. ‘Fully funded’ from the state’s perspective does not include educational and extracurricular programs such as the seven-period day; orchestra, band, music and art at elementary schools, world languages and career and technical programs at middle schools, and other opportunities that Bellevue students, families and community believe is essential. Local dollars also fund special education and gifted programs for Bellevue students. Local levy dollars need to fund these programs in the future as well. The current local levies will be expiring at the end of 2018.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a levy?
A levy is a tax measure. If approved by voters, the levy allows for the collection of local taxes within the boundaries of the school district. School districts in the State of Washington use local property tax levies to support public education beyond what the state funds for basic education. Twenty-eight percent of the Bellevue School District revenue is from local levies.
How does the district invest levy dollars?
The district funds several hallmarks of education in Bellevue via levy dollars including:
- The 7-period day at our middle schools and high schools which provides students greater access to learning opportunities. At middle schools the 7th period allows students to take world languages and additional career and technical courses. At high schools, students can earn up to four additional credits before graduation;
- Art, band, orchestra and music in elementary schools;
- Summer school;
- Additional funding for special education and gifted programs;
- Extracurricular activities and athletics;
- An extra 30 minutes of tutorial at secondary schools when students can meet individually with teachers;
- Additional professional development opportunities for staff; and,
- Market-based salaries for staff members including teachers, administrators, and classified support employees.
How successful has BSD been in managing its finances?
The Bellevue School District has the highest bond rating (AAA) on Moody’s Investor Service scale and is rated an AA-plus by Standard and Poor’s. In fact, less than 0.45 percent of school districts in the nation hold this rating from Moody’s. The district has also received no audit findings since 2011. Beginning in spring 2018, the district will organize a community advisory group with a focus on finance to insure greater transparency and gain community input. The finance group’s primary function will be to provide input to the budget process; review financial reports and other financial information; review the district’s internal controls regarding finance and accounting compliance and ethics; review the business risk of the district; encourage continuous improvement and implementation of best practices; and foster adherence to the district’s policies, procedures and practices from a financial and accounting perspective.
Is there a separate vote for each levy or do I vote once for all three?
Ballots will require a vote for each of the three proposed levy items.
Why are three levy measures on the ballot? Can it be done as one measure?
State legislation on school funding determines how districts collect local tax dollars and how those funds are spent. Each levy type requires voter approval and can only fund specific types of expenses:
The Educational & Operations Levy can be used to fund ongoing operating expenditures in support students, staff, and the community such as extracurricular activities, extended school days or an extended school year, additional course offerings beyond the state minimum, activities associated with early learning, professional development, and to supplement other school programs, such as special education and gifted. These levies have a one to four year life before having to be renewed.
The Technology & Capital Projects Levy can fund large-scale maintenance, repairs and upgrades to school facilities, equipment, and other capital purchases including technology. Technology projects include the upgrade of laptops and computers in schools, interactive software programs for student learning, projectors and smart boards in classrooms, and technology infrastructure such as wireless networks. Examples of large scale capital projects are floor, roof and sport field replacements and repairs to essential utilities such as sewer, water and electrical. These levies have a one to five year life before having to be renewed.
The School Bus Levy can fund the purchase, major repair, and rebuilding of student transportation vehicles which are primarily school buses. This levy will be collected over one year and be spent on buses for the next seven years.
What is Bellevue's tax rate?
The current tax rate for local school measures in Bellevue is $2.93 per $1,000 of assessed value. The local school tax bill for the median priced home in Bellevue School District of $640,000 in 2017 is $1,875.
Why is the tax rate in Bellevue lower than surrounding districts?
The property tax rate applies to all property in the Bellevue School District area, including both commercial and residential property. When compared to other surrounding school districts, Bellevue’s total property tax base has a greater proportion of commercial property and on average, has a higher assessed property value per square mile. This results in overall lower property tax rates.
Does new construction impact my tax rate?
Yes. New home and commercial construction impacts your tax rate and bill. The measures passed by voters are for specific dollar amounts per year for the life span of the levy. As the assessed value in the area grows with the construction of new homes and commercial buildings, these properties will pay their portion of the total bill resulting in a lower property tax rate.
What is new and innovative instructional technology?
New and innovative instructional technology is technology in classrooms supporting student learning. Examples include adaptive reading and math programs such as RazKids and Dreambox, touch-based devices that allow students to digitally capture notes and interact with curriculum, and translation devices that help advance ELL students in their acquisition of English and ongoing learning.
Is Bellevue running a bond measure this year?
A bond is a loan with a predetermined interest rate. Voters approve or deny authority for the school district to enter into debt to fund large construction projects. Once approved, the school district sells bonds with a 20-year life to finance construction projects. Local property taxes are levied to pay the interest and principal on the bonds.
BSD is not running a bond measure this year. The 2014 bond measure approved by voters is funding current and upcoming construction projects.