School Levies

Report on Recent Levies

Promises Made, Promises Kept

Report to the Community 2021

Your Tax Dollars Help Seattle Students Succeed

Seattle Public Schools relies on local, voter-approved levies to fill the gap between what the state provides and what it takes to meet student needs. This includes paying for day-to-day operations, for construction and improvements to school buildings, and for technology equipment, software, and services.

Two education levies expire at the end of 2022. Replacement levies will be on the ballot for the Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022 election.

We want you to know how SPS is spending funding previously approved by Seattle voters. This report presents an overview of the the expiring Educational Programs & Opportunities (EP&O) levy, the expiring Buildings, Technology, and Academics/Athletics (BTA) capital levy, and the Building Excellence (BEX) capital levy that was approved in 2019.

Thank you Seattle. You continue to make a difference for students.

2019 EP&O Levy

In February 2019, Seattle voters approved a three-year $815 million replacement levy. Local taxes collected from this levy provided the second largest source of SPS’s general fund operating budget.

Most of Seattle Public Schools’ EP&O levy supports critical basic education programs which are not fully funded by the state. These include areas such as special education and bilingual education teachers and instructional aides. Funding from the levy is also used for areas that would be considered enrichment, like security and transportation, and student activities such as athletics, drama, and music in schools.

This levy expires in 2022.

2021-22 Operating Budget: Funding by source

a circle chart shows various funding levels denotated by different colors: state funding is the largest with 59.8% and local taxes are second with 15%
2021-22 Operating Budget: Funding by source

2016 BTA IV Capital Levy

Seattle voters approved the six-year, $475.3 million Buildings, Technology, and Academics/Athletics IV Capital Levy (BTA IV) in February 2016. It replaced the BTA III capital levy. BTA IV projects are on schedule and within the program budget as of November 30, 2021. This levy expires in 2022. Projects selected were primarily based on school condition and capacity needs and followed the School Board’s Guiding Principles for BTA IV. Learn more about BTA IV.

a brick building from the corner. it sits on a hill with gardens around it and a sidewalk goes past
Magnolia Elementary School, photo: Benschneider Photography

BUILDINGS

Promised: Renovate and open three vacant school buildings as elementary schools to increase capacity for students and build an addition at one high school.

Delivered

  • Renovated and opened E.C. Hughes to house Roxhill Elementary (2018), Magnolia Elementary as new attendance area school (2019), and Webster School to house Licton Springs K-8 (2021).
  • Addition constructed at Ingraham High School, opened 2019

Promised: Improve earthquake safety at two buildings to protect student, teachers and staff, and the integrity of the buildings.

Delivered

  • Lincoln High School, completed 2019
  • Daniel Bagley Elementary School, completed 2020.

Promised: Install fire suppression/sprinklers life safety systems

Delivered/In Progress

  • Lincoln High School, completed 2019
  • Magnolia Elementary School, completed 2019
  • Daniel Bagley Elementary School, completed 2020
  • Webster School (Licton Springs K-8), completed 2021
  • North Queen Anne (Cascade Parent Partnership), in progress

Promised: Fire alarm system improvements

Delivered/Scheduled

  • Meany Middle School, completed 2017
  • Lincoln High School, completed 2019
  • Daniel Bagley Elementary School, completed 2020.
  • John Muir Elementary School, scheduled for 2022

Promised: Security Improvements — Buildings (door and window alarms)

Delivered/Scheduled

  • Aki Kurose Middle School, completed 2018
  • Rainier Beach High School, completed 2018
  • Dearborn Park Elementary, completed 2021
  • John Muir Elementary School, completed 2021
  • Whitworth (Orca K-8), scheduled for 2022

Promised: Intercom system replacements

Delivered/Scheduled

  • Meany Middle School, completed 2017
  • Lincoln High School, completed 2019
  • Daniel Bagley Elementary School, completed 2020
  • John Muir Elementary School, scheduled for 2022

Promised: Replace all or portions of roofs and make roof improvements that increase earthquake safety

Delivered

  • Dearborn Park Elementary School, completed 2018
  • Ballard High School, completed 2018
  • Lincoln High School, completed 2019
  • Ingraham High School, completed 2019
  • Garfield High School, completed 2018
  • West Seattle High School, completed 2021

Promised: Exterior Renovations/Improvements (Doors, windows, exterior walls)

a large brick building has white columns and arched windows
Window replacement project at Franklin High School

Delivered/in progress/scheduled

  • Gatewood Elementary School, exterior cladding, complete 2018
  • Lowell Elementary School, doors, completed 2018
  • Sanislo Elementary School, doors, completed 2018
  • Daniel Bagley Elementary School, windows and doors, completed 2019
  • Lincoln High School, doors, completed 2019
  • Franklin High School, windows, doors, and cladding, completed 2020
  • Garfield High School, doors, completed 2021
  • Wedgwood Elementary School, doors, completed 2021
  • Ballard High School, exterior cladding, in progress
  • North Queen Anne School (Cascade Parent Partnership), windows and doors, in progress
  • Eckstein Middle School, exterior cladding, scheduled 2022
  • Graham Hill Elementary, doors, scheduled for 2022
  • Whitworth (Orca K-8), doors, scheduled for 2022

Promised: Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) System Improvements

Delivered/Scheduled

  • Lincoln High School, completed 2019
  • Daniel Bagley Elementary School, completed 2020
  • Gatewood Elementary School, scheduled for 2022

Promised: Electrical  System Improvements

Delivered/in progress/scheduled

  • Lincoln High School, completed 2019
  • Daniel Bagley Elementary School, completed 2020
  • North Queen Anne School (Cascade Parent Partnership), in progress
  • Franklin High School gym, scheduled, summer 2022

Promised: Plumbing System Improvements

Delivered

  • Lincoln High School, completed 2019
  • Daniel Bagley Elementary School, completed 2020

Promised: Districtwide Support Projects — routine replacement of equipment for food service, lunchrooms, maintenance, grounds, and security; planning and election costs for 2019 election.

Delivered

  • All funding spent or reserved for specific line items and not used for other projects.

Promised: Property Acquisition

Delivered

  • Added to funds available for property acquisition. Having this budget available reduces the lead time for SPS to acquire property if need and opportunity arises, and it reduces the potential need to take on debt to finance property additions.

Promised: Major Preventive Maintenance

Delivered

  • This funding continued funding for the preventive maintenance program.

Promised: Capital Eligible Loan Repayment

Delivered

  • This funding has been and can be used only for the designated purpose.

Promised: Debt Service Payment

Delivered

  • This funding pays the debt incurred in purchasing and renovating the John Stanford Center for Educational Excellence.

TECHNOLOGY

Promised: Make strategic investments in technology to support teaching and learning in the classroom; delivery of services to students, teachers, staff, and families; and improve business efficiency.

Delivered/in progress: See Technology below

ACADEMICS/ATHLETICS

Promised: Special Education Program Modifications

Delivered

  • These funds have been used to modify buildings and systems to meet changing needs of students receiving special education services.

Promised: Science and computer labs at high schools as needed to support CORE 24 graduation requirements

Delivered/scheduled

  • These funds have been and will be used for the designated purpose.

Promised: Student Assessment System Licenses

Delivered

  • License fees paid

Promised: Program Placement

Delivered

  • These funds have been and will be used to support changes to school buildings and portable placement to meet the changing needs in placement of education programs around the district. They are also used for capital-eligible new program and curriculum materials.

Promised: Athletic Field Improvements and Exterior Lights, Defibrillators

Jane Addams Middle School field – 2020

Delivered

  • Robert Eagle Staff Middle School, field upgrades completed 2017, and lighting completed 2019
  • Chief Sealth High School, field upgrades completed 2018
  • Garfield High School, field upgrades completed 2019
  • Nathan Hale High School, field upgrades completed 2020
  • Jane Addams Middle School, field upgrades completed 2020
  • Ingraham High School, field upgrades, scheduled 2022
  • West Woodland, fields and lights, canceled – funding to be reprogrammed
  • Defibrillators, districtwide battery replacement 2018–2022

2019 Building Excellence V Capital Levy (BEX V)

a crane lifts structural steel into place
Structural steel for the new school building at Northgate Elementary School – Dec. 2021

Seattle voters approved BEX V in February 2019. This six-year, $1.4 billion capital levy replaced the expiring BEX IV levy. BEX V provides funding for replacement or major modernization of aging school buildings, and additional safety, security, and infrastructure projects. It will expire in 2025. Projects selected went through an extensive community vetting process and followed the School Board’s Guiding Principles for BEX V. Learn more about BEX V.

Promised: Replacement of 7 aging school buildings — Alki Elementary School, John Rogers Elementary School, Kimball Elementary School, Northgate Elementary School, and Viewlands Elementary School, Mercer International Middle School, and Rainier Beach High School

  • Under construction: Kimball, Northgate, and Viewlands replacement schools
  • In planning: Alki, John Rogers, Mercer, and Rainier Beach

Promised: Major modernization and expansion of the landmarked Montlake Elementary School

  • In planning

Promised: Classroom addition and improvements at West Seattle Elementary School and West Woodland Elementary School

  • Delivered: West Woodland completed 2021
  • Under construction: West Seattle

Promised: Addition to Van Asselt School Interim Site

  • In planning

Beyond the promise: Classroom addition construction projects in progress that include BEX V funding added to Distressed Schools Grants from the State of Washington

  • Under construction: Leschi Elementary School, Madison Middle School

Promised: School building systems projects including safety and security upgrades, heating and ventilation system improvements, electrical and plumbing projects, and athletic fields and playground improvements have been completed or are scheduled in upcoming years.

More information on current projects

Technology

Both the BTA and BEX capital levies provide more than 85% of funding for technology staff, equipment, and services. The COVID 19 pandemic led to acceleration of some projects and re-prioritizing others to support the rapid move to online learning.

Over the past six years, SPS has:

  • Expanded student, teacher, classroom, and district technology equipment, staffing, and services to ensure that every student had laptops and internet access for online line learning during the pandemic.
  • Implemented a digital equity program to support schools and students who are historically underserved.
  • Enhanced cybersecurity for better protection of students, staff, and district resources.