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.
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 — October/November 2023
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.
Bassetti Architects was selected and hired to develop concept plans for potential projects. That work is currently underway.
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)
We are currently developing alternatives to study in the PEIS. This is the method that SPS uses to evaluate whether there will be environmental impacts from BEX VI.
A scoping notice will be posted later this fall. After the scoping period, a consultant will begin developing a DRAFT PEIS for public comment. While the draft PEIS will include 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.
- School Board provides Guiding Principles for BEX VI planning.
- Continue to develop and refine list of potential projects.
- Begin community engagement on levy priorities and projects.
- Refine project list based on community feedback and school board direction.
- 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.
- Information sharing on BEX VI and the district’s Educational Programs & Operations Levy.
- Ballots due February 11, 2025.