Last Update: January 24, 2024

This is the second in a series of understanding school finance – School Funding 101.

BSD’s Deputy Superintendent of Finance and Operations, Melissa deVita, presents a financial update at the December 14 School Board meeting and offers key details about school budgeting.

Six Things to Know About School Budgeting

  • The budget must balance. We have savings (called a fund balance or reserve) that are there for a rainy day, but not to solve ongoing budget shortfalls.
  • Local levies help a lot. However, the amount that can be collected is limited and the specific uses of levies are restricted. Currently, we cannot collect enough locally to make up for the shortfall in education funding.
  • We pay high taxes for education, but a significant portion goes to the state. The state then apportions it back to districts. (See more about property taxes below.)
  • Capital funds for technology and buildings are separated by law from money for operations (general fund) and cannot be mixed. We cannot sell property, for example, to pay for day-to-day operations.
  • Class size is dictated by the number of teachers we can pay for from the general fund not by school size.
  • The Bellevue Schools Foundation and PTSAs raise critical money to support enrichment and innovation for our schools. Although grants and donations cannot be considered as recurring revenue, the more money the District receives from grants and donations that can be targeted for critical programs, the less money it will need to find in the budget.

More About Property Taxes

Navigate the financial update video presentation by using the time stamps below.

  • 42:14 – Property taxes are paid to 9 different jurisdictions in the City of Bellevue.
  • 42:27 – BSD levies go directly to the district for specific purposes.
  • 43:43 – State School Funds tax goes directly to the state and back to the district via state funding formula based on student enrollment and student demographics.
    • That is the money used to support our day-to-day operations.
  • 44:22 – Bellevue School District levies an amount then calculates the tax rate based on total assessed value in the district.
    • The district asks the community to approve an amount of money that we can collect; we do not ask them to approve a tax rate. So, as the total assessed value for our district goes up or down, they calculate the tax rate based on that.
  • 45:22 – The state levies a tax rate and the amount of taxes you pay is calculated based on your property’s assessed value.

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The Bellevue School District acknowledges that we learn, work, live and gather on the Indigenous Land of the Coast Salish peoples, specifically the Duwamish and Snoqualmie Tribes. We thank these caretakers of this land, who have lived and continue to live here, since time immemorial.