What is the difference between a levy and a bond?
A simple way to remember the difference is BONDS are for BUILDINGS and LEVIES are for LEARNING. Levy dollars allow the district to provide programs and services that are currently being provided in Bellevue schools and would not otherwise be funded. Bonds fund the construction of new and remodeled buildings.
The state claims to be fully funding education. Why do we continue to need local levies?
The state has been underfunding education for many years. Even with the increases being phased in, state funds do not cover the costs of the current educational programs being provided currently to every Bellevue student. Local levies pay for music and art in our elementary schools, technology for each classrooms, and additional elementary classroom assistants. In our middle and high schools, local levies pay for the 7th period, laptops for every student, technology support staff and tutorial offered 4 days a week after school.
Why are there three separate levies?
It is important for voters to know exactly what they are being asked to approve. Having three levies ensures that each request is considered
and that the funds can only be used as the levy defines. The Education Operations levy pays for the teaching staff necessary for the 7th period, tutorial, band, orchestra music and art, as well as counselors and nurses, world languages, and security staff, among other things. The Capital and Technology levy pay for laptops for all secondary students, the technical support staff, major updates to older buildings, multi-season fields, and other building improvements. The transportation levy pays for buses.
If this levy is approved, will my taxes go up?
No. The portion of your taxes related to the Bellevue School District will decrease.
Why will my taxes decrease?
The levies allow the district to collect a fixed dollar amount. As our district continues to grow, there are more businesses and homes owners who are helping to pay the total amount.
We are usually asked to approve levies AND bonds. Why is there no bond under consideration this time?
The Bellevue School District – thanks to voters’ support – currently has the bond dollars necessary for Phase 3 of our building plan. Phase 3 will complete the rebuilding of all district schools and two new schools to address student enrollment growth.
I don’t remember ever hearing about a levy specifically for buses – is this new?
The last time the Bellevue School District had a bus levy was in 1998. The District has, and continues to, carefully maintained our buses to ensure that they last. However, with the growth in student enrollment additional buses are needed to safely transport students to and from school each day.
I don’t understand the McCleary Act. Can you please explain?
The McCleary Act was a Washington State Supreme court ruling forcing our state government to put more funds toward public education and pay for: 6 periods of classes and the corresponding teacher salaries Education for all students, including Special Education, Gifted and other programs Additional resources outside of the classroom (nurses, counselors, tech support, etc.)
Even with the additional funding, the state will not cover the resources we require in our district. The state is now required to cover the bare minimum and still has yet to fully fund Special Education. Our education program – supported and paid for by the approval of these levies – offers our students much more.
My child/children attend choice schools. How do those choice program students benefit from the levies?
At the elementary level, all students – including those in choice schools – are provided band, orchestra, music and art. Choice program students also benefit from classroom technology and most importantly, the levies provide the funds to pay for the curriculum offered in both Spanish and Mandarin. It is also the levy dollars that builds out the entire experience – paying for library books in other languages and a myriad of other curriculum support material. At the secondary level, the choice school students also have the 7-period and tutorial, laptops for every student, world languages, in-building technology support, etc.
I do not have children in the public school system. Why should I approve higher property taxes? What benefit do I get?
Even if you don’t have a child in the public schools system, quality schools will continue to make Bellevue an attractive place to work and live. Our strong schools also contribute to higher home values when sold. Due to a strong and thriving business core in Bellevue, the taxes associated with the Bellevue School District levies will remain flat. This is because the total amount the district can collect is distributed across the district and includes businesses who also help pay for these levies.
Since my property value has increased, shouldn’t that have provided the district the additional funds it needs?
No. Unlike the state education tax, school district levies have a specific, defined, fixed amount that can be collected, independent of assessed value changes. When your property’s assessed value goes up, the amount of tax collected for the school district stays the same. The state taxing is different; they collect a percentage of the assessed value. So when your value goes up, so do your taxes that are driven by the state.
What happens if these levies do not pass?
These levies make up about 20% of the district’s budget. If any one of the levies doesn’t pass, there will be cuts to the education programs our students currently experience every day, including an increase in class size.
When is election day?
February 13, 2018
How do I know if I am registered to vote?
This is the link to the Washington Secretary of State website that allows you to check your voting status.
How can I register to vote or change my mailing address?
This is the link to the Washington Secretary of State website that allows you to register to vote.
When are ballots mailed?
The Secretary of State begins the 18-day voting period on January 26, 2018. Ballots will be mailed shortly before that.
What percentage of voters must approve the levy for it to pass?
School levies require a simple majority of 50% plus 1 vote.