Seattle School Board Approves Two Levies for the February 9, 2016 Special Election Ballot

News Release: Nov. 19, 2015

The School Board has approved placing a $758.3 million Operations Levy on the February 9, 2016 special election ballot to replace the expiring Operations Levy, which was approved by voters in 2013.

Operations Levy

This levy provides about 25 percent of the district’s general fund operating budget for day-to-day educational programs and services not fully funded by the state of Washington and helps fund salaries and classroom instruction, textbooks and supplies; transportation and security; Special Education and English Language Learners programs; and student activities such as athletics, music and art.

Capital Levy

The Seattle School Board has also approved the $475.3 million Buildings Technology and Academics/Athletics IV (BTA IV) Capital Levy ballot measure, which is a replacement for the expiring BTA III Capital Levy and passed by Seattle voters in February 2010. This measure will also be submitted to Seattle voters on the Feb. 9, 2016, special election ballot. The Seattle Public Schools, Seattle School District No. 1, has the lowest property tax rate of any large school district in King County

Enrollment Increases at Seattle Public Schools

Enrollment at Seattle Public Schools is on the rise. The BTA IV Capital Levy measure, if approved by Seattle voters, would continue the work to address overcrowded schools and classrooms, and to improve the condition of building systems. In addition, the BTA IV levy addresses academics and technology initiatives, major preventive maintenance and athletic field improvements.

“Renewing the BTA capital and operations levies will improve the condition of our school buildings and expand capacity, provide equitable access to modern technology for all students, teachers and staff, and fund key academic programs,” said Superintendent Larry Nyland.

“We had to make some difficult choices in selecting BTA IV projects that address our most critical needs. This levy package includes projects that are of the highest priority to ensure that every student receives a high quality, 21st century education and graduates prepared for college, career and life.”

BTA IV Project Selection

BTA IV projects were selected based on the School Board’s guiding principles, the long-range Facilities Master Plan, the Facilities Conditions Assessment (Meng) report and input from school staff and the public. The BTA capital program has three major components: building improvements, technology improvements, and academics or athletics improvements.

Specific project areas include:

Buildings: $335.4 million

  • Capacity measures (add 2,050 student seats): $87.8 million 
  • Property acquisition: $15.0 million 
  • Building systems, including earthquake safety, fire alarms and security improvements, electrical and HVAC upgrades: $111.2 million 
  • District-wide support projects $9.6 million 
  • Major preventive maintenance: $18.0 million 
  • Project management: $11.0 million Project levy escalation/program contingency: $71.1 million 
  • Capital financing obligations principal payment: $8.1 million 
  • Capital-eligible projects: $3.6 million

Technology: $104.7 million

  • Student learning (classroom equipment, labs, etc.): $29.3 million 
  • Instructional support and delivery (traditional, online, blended, etc.) $27.2 million 
  • Physical safety and security: $8.3 million 
  • Information/data security and privacy: $3.5 million 
  • School and instructional central services (payroll, orders, buses, scheduling, etc.) $30 million 
  • Communication, transparency and outreach (web, community/parent contact): $6.3 million

Academics/Athletics: $35.2 million

  • Special Education program modifications $4.8 million 
  • Lab Space in middle and high schools to provide a high quality STEM education and Core 24 graduation requirements (science and computer labs) $5 million 
  • Student assessment system licenses $3.5 million 
  • Program placement: $8.3 million 
  • Athletic fields/field exterior lights: $13.6 million

BTA IV Capital Levy Planning

Planning for the BTA IV Capital Levy began in January 2015 and has included input and feedback from the School Board, the BEX Oversight Committee, capital and facilities staff, senior leadership, building leadership teams and the public. A total of 11 community meetings were held in March, April, June and September of 2015 to seek input and feedback from the public.

“The BTA IV Capital Levy and Operations Levy are essential if we are to fulfill our mission to ensure equitable access, closing the opportunity gaps and excellence in education for every student,” said Seattle School Board President Sherry Carr.

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