How is the Bellevue School District Funded?
How schools are funded in Washington is complicated with multiple funding sources and limited uses of funds depending on the designated purposes. Money comes from the state, local taxpayers and the federal government. Use of funds can be limited to capital, technology, building projects, specific programs.
State provides funding for basic education to all school districts in the state of Washington with enrollment being the primary drivers using a model that depicts assumed staffing at a typical school. Unfortunately, the model has not kept pace with the challenges and expectations of student support post-pandemic and in 2022.
Did you know: The State of Washington determines our budget based on assumed staffing needed to run a typical school.
Specific Categorical State Funding
In addition to the general funding, the state provides funding for specific activities and supports such as transportation, special education services, and literacy supports. In all these areas, the funding from the state is less than the actual cost for many districts throughout Washington.
Federal Government Funding
Federal government provides funding for specific activities including special education and support of students experiencing poverty. In addition, the federal government can provide one time funding to support specific efforts or time frames such as the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Recovery (ESSER) funds that are to be used to help students recover from the impact of the pandemic both academically and social emotionally.
The state allows districts to ask voters to provide additional funding to local schools via levy elections. These levies expire so elections are held every 4 years or district revenue will be reduced. Bellevue voters passed two levies in February 2022, Education and Operations (E&O) Levy and Capital/Technology (Cap/Tech) Levy. The E&O levy is used to supplement education services while the Cap/Tech is used for school, student and staff technology and building maintenance. The amount of money that can be collected from local taxpayers in support of schools is limited by state law.
Learn more about the most recent levies approved by voters and/or How Levy Funding Helps BSD Students:
Districts can also take on long-term debt to support large building and remodeling projects like the construction of Puesta del Sol and the remodeling of Newport High School. In February 2020, voters approved the district selling up to $675 million in additional long-term debt to remodel and rebuild specific schools. The district will sell these bonds when needed to support specific building projects.