Seattle Public Schools

School Levies

BEX VI Capital Levy Planning

Planning for the Next Capital Levy

Important Funding Source

Each voter-approved capital levy continues our investment in school buildings and student technology. These levies supply the main funding for school building improvements and much of the funding for SPS’s technology equipment, software, services, and staff.

The SPS Strategic Plan, Seattle Excellence, includes the goal of providing safe and welcoming schools. This means we must continually evaluate and improve the environments where our students learn.

Seattle Public Schools has more than 100 school buildings. Our long-range capital plan is designed to upgrade, renovate, and maintain our school buildings on a planned and predictable schedule. We must continually preserve and improve these buildings to ensure that they are available now and in the future.

Capital Funding Separate from Operating Funds

While the district currently faces challenges in the annual operating budget, capital levy funds are separate and must be used for the building projects and technology priorities approved in the levy.

Planning Underway for BEX VI Levy

We are currently planning for the next Building Excellence (BEX) Capital Levy. It will be the 6th BEX levy request, so we refer to it as BEX VI.

The Seattle School Board is expected to place BEX VI on the ballot for the February 2025 election.

Guiding Principles

The Seattle School Board approved Building Excellence VI Capital Levy Guiding Principles on Oct. 11, 2023. These principles provide guidance to staff as we develop recommendations to the School Board on BEX VI levy projects.

Extensive Process

A lot goes into levy planning, and it is all guided by the Strategic Plan, School Board Policy, and School Board Guiding Principles.

The levy planning process includes:

  • Reviewing the Facilities Master Plan Update from 2021.
  • Reviewing and assessing the current building, system, and site condition information.
  • Determining what will be needed to meet Board and regulatory requirements for clean energy and energy efficient building operations.
  • Assessing needs for accessibility improvements.
  • Assessing needs for safety and security improvements.
  • Assessing needs for seismic improvements.
  • Reviewing current capacity, and enrollment projections for 5 years, 10 years, and 20 years.
  • Collecting information on program placement needs.
  • Evaluating district technology including equipment needs, licensing, software, and services, and aligning with superintendent’s initiatives and priorities.
  • Consulting with the BEX and BTA Capital Programs Oversight Committee and the Information Technology Advisory Committee.

What’s Happening Now — May/June

Concept Planning

Bassetti Architects continues to develop concept plans for potential projects. Cost estimates are being developed as those concepts are considered.

Studies are also in progress to develop recommendations and cost estimates for clean energy improvements across the district.

Concept planning provides information needed to determine cost estimates – part of typical long-range planning steps to plan for the upgrade and renovation of aging school facilities.

Concept plans are not project plans, but “test fits” of several concepts to figure out what is feasible for a school site.

Many projects are studied. Having concept plans allows district to be ready when funding becomes available, either through a capital levy or through other funding sources.

Developing a concept study for a school does not mean a project will be included in BEX VI.

Levy Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS)

The Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) is complete and the public meeting was held on April 24. While the draft PEIS includes school names and typical capital construction project ideas, it does not mean any specific project listed will be included in BEX VI.

Preliminary Timeline for Levy Planning

March 2022–May 2023

Early levy planning has included steps such as assessing strategic plan implications for the levy, reviewing lessons learned from previous levies and construction projects, assessing upcoming regulatory and Board requirements that will influence the levy projects, and gathering information on multiple other topics.

Developed initial list of projects to study/consider based on previous studies and levy planning efforts.

June 2023–August 2023

  • Seek proposals to create concept plans for potential levy construction projects.
  • Hire firm to create concept plans.
  • Begin Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) work.

August 2023–Spring 2024

  • Research and reviews to create concept plans for future construction projects.
  • Develop project cost estimates based on concepts developed.

Fall 2023

Spring 2024

  • Continue to develop and refine list of potential projects and costs.
  • Plan for fall community engagement.

Summer 2024

  • Refine list of potential projects and costs.

Fall 2024

  • Community engagement on proposed levy project lists.
  • Staff recommendation to school board on project list and levy amount.
  • School Board action to place the levy on the February 2025 ballot.

January–February 2025

  • Information sharing on BEX VI and the district’s Educational Programs & Operations Levy.
  • Ballots due February 11, 2025.

Questions or Feedback

If you have questions or comments on the BEX VI Capital Levy or any other capital levy, please use our Let’s Talk online form.