Levies Information: Winter 2016

Seattle voters have the opportunity to renew funding for two levies on Tuesday, February 9, 2016.

At Seattle Public Schools, we are committed to success for all students so they can graduate from high school prepared for college, careers and life. These two levies play an important role in our ability to meet our goals.

Both levy measures will replace expiring levies that voters previously approved. They are part of Seattle Public Schools' long-term levy plan and will support public education for Seattle's students.

Levies Information: Winter 2016
Posted on 02/04/2016
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This publication is intended to provide factual information related to the Feb. 9, 2016, Seattle Public Schools Operations and Capital levies election and was prepared by district staff.

Operations Levy (OPS)

$758.3 million (Proposition 1)

The Operations Levy represents more than 25 percent of Seattle Public Schools' general fund operating budget. It is the second largest source of operations funding after funding from the State of Washington. The levy supports educational programs and services not fully funded by the state.

The Operations Levy pays for:

  • A portion of teacher instructional assistant and support staff salaries
  • Textbooks
  • Classroom supplies
  • Safety and building security
  • Bilingual and special education services
  • Professional development and training
  • Bus transportation
  • Student activities such as athletics, music, arts, extra-curricular and co-curricular activities

This levy renews the expiring Operations Levy that Seattle voters approved in February 2013.

Click here to read more about projects supported by an operations levy.

Capital Levy: Buildings, Technology and Academics/Athletics IV (BTA IV)

$475.3 million (Proposition 2)

The Capital Levy supports the district’s long-range plans to upgrade and renovate aging school facilities and address enrollment growth. The BTA IV Capital Levy replaces the expiring BTA III Capital Levy approved by voters in February 2010 and continues a tradition of BTA capital levies that started in 1998 (BTA I).

  • Buildings projects including renovations, major maintenance, and health and safety improvements.
  • Technology classroom equipment and instructional support to enhance student learning.
  • Academics projects to meet the educational requirements and needs of students.
  • Athletics improvements to upgrade fields.

Click here to read more about the projects that are included in the Capital Levy: Proposition 2.

Estimated SPS Property Taxes

Based upon a $450,000 home value, annual estimated property taxes would be an additional $11 per month in 2017, $11 per month in 2018 and $13 per month in 2019. These amounts are not cumulative: rather, they are the dollar amounts for each of the three years.

As property values increase and buildings are added to the tax roll, individual tax amounts decrease. This is because the total levy dollar amount stays the same while more taxes are collected.

Some homeowners may qualify for a tax exemption. Please visit our FAQ page to read more about tax exemptions.

Status of Current Levy Projects

Work funded by the expiring six-year Buildings, Technology and Academics/Athletics III (BTA III) Capital Levy, approved by Seattle voters in 2010, is nearly complete, with all projects on time and on budget and with a current $2 million underspend.

The six-year Building Excellence IV (BEX IV) Capital Levy, approved by Seattle voters in 2013, continues the district’s work to construct, replace, renovate, modernize and build additions for aging district buildings; to address enrollment growth, earthquake and safety issues, and infrastructure upgrades; and to continue major preventive maintenance and technology systems improvements.

BEX IV projects include 17 major buildings projects that include construction of new schools, new replacement schools and renovation/modernization of, and additions to, existing buildings. All projects are currently on-schedule and within budget.

Three replacement schools (Arbor Heights and Genesee Hill elementaries and Pinehurst to house Hazel Wolf K-8), one newly constructed school (Thornton Creek Elementary) and one modernized school (T.T. Minor to house Seattle World School) are opening in Fall 2016.

This $270 million Capital Levy paid for projects throughout the district, including renovations to open schools to meet enrollment growth, small renovations, major maintenance and improvement projects, technology improvements, and academics and athletics projects.

You can read more about the current levy projects on the recent SPS Report to the Community.

Once all projects in BEX IV, BTA III and BTA IV are completed, the backlog of work for Building Maintenance and Repair (BMAR) will have been reduced from $508 million in 2014 to $247 million in 2022.

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