Skip To ContentSkip To Content

    Planning for BEX V

    Updated Sept. 11, 2018

    Seattle Public Schools has begun planning for the Building Excellence V (BEX V) Capital Levy to be submitted to Seattle voters on the February 2019 special election ballot. Capital levies are part of Seattle Public Schools’ long-range plan to upgrade and renovate aging school facilities on a planned and predictable schedule. BEX V would replace the expiring Building Excellence IV (BEX IV) Capital Levy.

    The BEX V Capital Levy would enable continued construction of new school buildings, and new additions and major renovations to existing buildings. BEX V projects focus on improving safety and security for students, reducing portables, and adding classrooms to the district. This levy provides the funding to improve technology infrastructure in schools and increase access to classroom technology.
    photo of cascadia elementary entrance
    The expiring BEX IV Capital Levy funded new construction or major modernization at 17 schools. These projects have been completed, such as Cascadia Elementary (shown), or will be in the next few years. BEX IV also funded safety and security improvements, including retrofitting for earthquake safety, technology improvements and upgrades, and major maintenance such as roof replacements and exterior repairs.

    Why SPS Needs a Capital Levy

    Capital levies are the primary funding source to ensure that every student has a safe, optimal learning environment. Typically, school districts receive limited state or federal funding for construction, renovations, safety and security upgrades, major maintenance or technology. In order to fund capital improvements, Seattle Public Schools relies on our local levy, which must be approved by Seattle voters. Capital levies also provide the majority of funding for important classroom technology and technology infrastructure, academics support projects, and athletic field and track improvements.


    In fall 2018, staff from Capital Projects and Planning Department and the Department of Technology Services will make recommendations to the Seattle School Board on what shoudl be included in BEX V. These recommendations will be developed using the School Board's Guiding Principles for BEX V, building conditions, capacity needs and community feedback.

    The School Board will determine the scope and cost of the levy, including what projects are included, and then they will vote to place the capital levy on the ballot. You can see the full timeline here.

    Guiding Principles and a Focus on Equity

    To guide the staff recommendations, the Board set Guiding Principles for selecting BEX V projects within an overarching framework of Board Policy No. 0030 (Ensuring Educational and Racial Equity). The guiding principles include building safety and security, right-size capacity, building conditions and educational alignment, environmental and financial sustainability, and updating technology.

    Policy 0030 calls for “differentiating resource allocation, within budgetary limitations, to meet the needs of students who need more supports and opportunities to succeed academically.” This means using an equity lens in making BEX V project decisions.

    Needs Assessments

    Earlier this year, Seattle Public Schools engaged a consulting firm to review conditions at all district properties and update the Facilities Master Plan. This work includes review by a task force that reports to the School Board and is expected to be completed in September.

    In early 2018, a preliminary review of facilities conditions and capacity took place. A number of buildings were identified that had needs based on building condition and/or capacity challenges. This early review did not include an equity lens, but it did provide direction for buildings that needed to be studied.

    Task Force

    At School Board direction, Capital Projects and Planning staff and Enrollment Planning staff have convened a Facilities Master Plan Review Task Force. Comprised of highly qualified community members, the task force is focused specifically on reviewing and validating two elements of the 2018 Facilities Master Plan Update: the capacity analysis and the scoring of the Board’s priorities (per Policy No. 6901 and adopted guiding principles). The task force began meeting in July and will continue through early September. More information on the task force, the task force charge, and meeting materials and minutes can be found on the task force page.

    Community Input

    Five regional community meetings were held in September to update the community on the planning process for both levies and the possible projects being recommended for the Capital Levy.

    Home-language community meetings are being held to share information and collect input on planning for the Operations Levy and Capital Levy. Chinese-language and Somali-language meetings were held in June. Work continues toward scheduling additional meetings.

    Five regional community meetings were held in April to share information and collect input on planning for the Operations Levy and Capital Levy.

    Community input, feedback and questions can be sent to capital staff at:


    Contact Us

    Email: capitallevy2019

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


    Learn about projects completed or underway using funds from the current capital levies

    Building Excellence IV (BEX IV) Capital Levy Projects

    Buildings, Technology and Academics/Athletics IV (BTA IV) Capital Levy Projects