BSD’s Deputy Superintendent of Finance and Operations, Melissa deVita, presents about school funding sources at the November 9 School Board meeting.
This is the first in a series of understanding school finance – School Funding 101
Understanding School Funding Sources
The Bellevue School District has three funding buckets: General Fund, Capital and Technology Fund, and Building Fund. The primary sources of revenue for these funds are shown in the graphic below.
Our General Fund is our Education Programs and Operations Levy (sometimes called an enrichment levy), is local property taxes paid by property owners in our district — that go directly to the school district. We also receive state funding that is provided to the district based on student enrollment and demographics. Finally, some federal grants we receive have designated purposes, such as special education, and cannot be used for other purposes. We use this money for day-to-day operations, to pay teachers, buy supplies and paper-based curriculum, run human resources and the payroll department, and pay paraeducators and other school-based staff. This General Fund is facing budget shortfalls due to past and forecasted enrollment declines.
Capital and Technology is funded primarily by local taxes that come directly to the district. In addition, any lease payments we receive for a surplus property like Three Points, for example, must be put in this fund along with the proceeds from any property sale. Revenue in this fund can only be spent on technology expenditures, including the people who support technology, like programmers and network administrators, and building maintenance like painting or new carpeting. It must be spent on something other than routine maintenance, like replacing air filters or lawn mowing. Those types of expenditures are considered ongoing operations and must come from the General Fund.
Lastly, there is the Buildings Fund, and this money is spent on new buildings and additions like the one currently being constructed at Newport High School. The sale of bonds funds projects like this and is considered long–term debt — up to 20 years, and we collect property taxes to pay the interest and principal on that debt. If voters pass a bond election, they are giving the district permission to take on that amount of debt.
We do not immediately sell bonds. Rather, we sell bonds as we need the money. So, we have not sold all the bonds approved in the 2020 election, and at this point, taxpayers are only paying for the bonds we have sold.
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