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    Renewal of the Educational Programs and Operations Levy (EP&O)

    Seattle Public Schools is asking Seattle voters to consider renewal of two critical education levies — one to fund construction, technology, and safety and security projects across the district, and one to fund day-to-day school operations — in the Feb. 12, 2019, election. These levies replace previous levies that expire in 2019.

    Why do we need the EP&O Levy?

    School districts are funded through state, local and federal dollars. But there’s currently a gap between what the state funds for K-12 education and what Seattle students need.

    So, every three years, the district asks voters to consider renewing the operations levy, which is a local education property tax. In addition, school construction is primarily funded by local voter-approved capital levies.

    Washington state recently changed how it helps fund schools. Some school districts saw a large increase in state funding, while others, like Seattle, didn’t.

    While we're grateful for the increases that have been provided, the state still isn't fully funding K-12 education. This creates a gap between what the state funds and what we need for our nearly 53,000 students.

    Starting in the 2019-20 school year, Seattle Public Schools will face an even greater deficit because the state limited our ability to collect the local education levies we need for our students here in Seattle.

    Less Money for our Students

    Two student graphics with stack of bills to represent funding gapSeattle Public Schools spends an additional $4,100 per student each year from local education levies. But because of the state's cap on local education levy funding, the district will now receive a little over half of that amount—or about $2,500 per student—and that's provided by the Feb. 2019 operations levy renewal is approved by voters.

    Examples with graphics displayed in slideshow below

    The state funds 9 nurses for our 53,000 students. We employ 63.

    The state funds 115 counselors for our 53,000 students. We employ 125.

    The state funds 226 custodians to care for more than 3,200 classrooms. We employ 312.

    Special Education
    The state funds $68 million a year for special education. To ensure our 7,000 students who need special education services have the supports they need, we spend $140 million a year for special education. That's a $72 million gap.

    bar graphic display funding gap for nurse staffBar graph display funding gap for counselor staffbar graph displays funding gap for custodian staffbar graph display funding gap for special education


    What are we doing?

    • We are planning for a difficult budget year.
    • We are advocating for our students and our community.
    • We are working with lawmakers to address this funding gap challenge.
    • We will continue to provide our students with what they need to be successful

    What will the EP&O Levy provide for Seattle students?

    This levy:

    Funds critical day-to-day school operations, such as additional school staff beyond what the state allocates.

    Helps pay for instructional materials and textbooks

    Bridges the funding gap between what the state funds and what Seattle students need.

    Provides funds for Special Education to ensure our 7,000 students who need special education services have the supports they need.

    Helps close the opportunity gaps by continuing to provide programs to support our most vulnerable students.

    Download the School Board Action Report (BAR) and Ballot Resolution adobe pdf icon

    Why are we asking for more than our state levy cap for the EP&O Levy?

    The state capped our district at how much money we can ask voters to approve. We are hoping the state will change this in 2019.

    So we are seeking additional funding authority from our voters to be able to collect at the higher dollar amount. This is a prudent and common approach other districts have and are using to make sure that we are able to collect funding, if that state makes any changes in the 2019 legislative session.

    If the state doesn’t make changes, we will collect at the rate currently authorized by the state.
    bar graph that displays levy collections by the year

    What is the cost of the EP&O Levy?

    The Educational Programs and Operations Levy would raise $815 million over three years.
    The levy is not a new tax. It renews the current operations levy, which end after 2019.

    building for learning logo

    Contact Us

    Operations Levy: budget

    Mailing Address:
    Levies 2019
    Seattle Public Schools
    M.S. 22-336
    P.O. Box 34165
    Seattle, WA 98124-1165