The Bellevue School Board unanimously passed three resolutions Tuesday that will put three levies on the February 2018 ballot.
School board members decided to approve a levy collection based on their current, higher limit instead of the lower, maximum amount imposed by the Washington State Legislature this summer through a property tax shift, which will be effective next year.
At the school board meeting, Deputy Superintendent of Finance and Operations Melissa deVita recommended the board choose the current levy rates, to “hedge our risk and make sure we’re in a position to be able to maintain our programs if the laws change without having to go back out for another election to our community.”
Board member Steve McConnell said the decision was made to ask voters for a higher rate because this is the cost for the Bellevue School District to maintain the same level of service.
“We want to be really clear this is not an attempt by the district,” he said, “… we’re not trying to grab extra funds.”
If approved by voters, a replacement Education and Operations Levy, now called the Enrichment Levy, will collect $304 million over four years between 2019-2022. The current levy expires at the end of 2017.
Property owners would be taxed a flat 99 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation each year, meaning a homeowner with a house assessed at $750,00 would pay $742.50 a year (not taking into account the change in its assessed valuation). Because of the estimated change in assessed value for homes, $68 million will be levied in 2018 for collection in 2019, $74 million levied in 2019 for collection in 2020, $79 million in 2020 for 2021 and $83 million in 2021 for 2022 collection.
The Education and Operations Levy allows the Bellevue School District to pay for educational programs and services, including teaching, school supplies, technology, athletics, buildings and transportation.
The second levy the board approved for the ballot is a Capital and Technology Levy. This levy, too, is a replacement levy and would tax property owners 54 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation in 2019-20 collection years and 53 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation in 2021-22 collection years. The district would collect $37 million in 2019, $40 million in 2020, $42 million in 2021 and $44 million in 2022. The total amount collected over four years would be $163 million.
The Capital and Technology Levy pays for building improvements, expansion, renovation, technology infrastructure and laptops for 11,752 middle and high school students.
The last levy, which hasn’t passed since 1998, is a one-year, $8 million School Bus Levy. In 2018, property owners would be taxed 12 cents per $1,000 of assessed value in which the district would collect the funds in 2019. The school bus levy would replace old buses and pay for additional buses to transport students to school.
Ballots will be mailed to voters for the February election on Jan. 24, 2018. Election day for the February Special Election is Feb. 13, 2018 with certification Feb. 23, 2018.