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Need information? Have questions?

Necesita informacion? ^Tiene preguntas?

English/lnglés: 360-542-3595

Spanish/Espaftol: 360-542-3596

Mixteco: 360-542-3597

Email: questions@be.wednet.edu

 

Capital Bond and Educational Programs & Operations Levy - Feb. 11, 2020

Want to learn more? 
Join us at a Live or Virtual Community 
Meeting
  • Jan 30th via Facebook Live (6pm)*
  • Feb 5th at Public Library (6:30pm)

*Virtual Meeting

Proposition No. 1 – Educational Programs and Operations (EP&O) Levy
The two-year replacement EP&O Levy is the only locally approved ballot measure that directly pays for basic general classroom and operational needs such as special education, curriculum, athletics and other co-curricular activities, and staff salaries that are not fully funded by the state.
This levy is essential to the daily operations of our District, representing 18% of our total operating budget. Like a subscription, local school levies must be renewed with the approval of voters or the funding will be lost. Our current levy expires in 2020. If renewed, this levy will allow the District to collect $20,824,000 over two years.
Proposition No. 2 – Capital Bond
This $89-million Capital Bond is needed to address urgent needs across our system. The proposed projects for the capital bond are:
  • $11-million for upgrading food service facilities and a gymnasium addition at our oldest building - West View Elementary;
  • $76-million for the construction of a new middle school for 7th and 8th grade students;
  • The remainder of the funding will go towards improving security at all our elementary schools, including limiting and controlling access to all school buildings, and the relocation of the Burlington North Alternative School to the District Office campus off of Fairhaven Avenue.

2020 Capital Bond | Replacement Educational Programs and Operations (EP&O) Levy Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

In February 2020, voters in the Burlington-Edison School District will be asked to consider two crucial propositions - an $89M Capital Facilities Bond to address critical safety issues, increase middle school student opportunities and ease overcrowding - and a key two-year replacement Educational Programs and Operations Levy.

These Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) aim to share information about Burlington-Edison School District’s 2020 Capital Bond and 2020 Replacement EP&O Levy. Additionally, this will answer questions about the ways that school districts in the state of Washington receive funding and why local, voter-approved bond and levy measures are critical to funding education. Click here to download a copy of the FAQ's or click on a question below to see the answer.

Q: Why is the District running a Capital Bond?
A: Bonds are for buildings. The School Board unanimously approved a bond proposal after reviewing years of work from two committees, professional consultants, community surveys and interviews with students, staff and community members.
The Board recognizes the urgent needs of our district:
  • With 42 portables across the District there is limited capacity to add more.
  • Our 7th and 8th grade students are spread out across four different buildings and with varying options for enrichment and support.
  • A middle school provides all students opportunities to take advanced courses, World Language, Career and Technical programs, fine arts, as well as support classes to strengthen students' core classes.
  • Additionally, our elementary schools were built for half-day kindergarten and now need twice the number of classrooms for full-day programs. We do not have the capacity to accommodate more growth.
  • Although the K through 8 system has been a longstanding tradition in our district, the growing diverse needs of our students have presented many challenges. Construction costs are rising over 15% per year - every year we delay addressing the needs of our district we risk costing taxpayers more in construction costs.
  • Our buildings are aging - our newest school is over 15 years old and adding a middle school, will provide modern classrooms for students preparing to enter high school.
  • Security improvements and facility upgrades will increase safety at our schools. The bond proposal calls for improving security at all our elementary schools, including limiting and controlling access to all school buildings.
  • We also need to add a gymnasium and upgrade food services at West View Elementary - our oldest school. The bond addresses significant food services issues, as currently lunch must be transported daily into a portable classroom pressed into service as the school’s cafeteria. The school’s undersized gym is outdated and limits the activities available to students.
  • The greater Burlington community will also benefit from this bond. The construction of a middle school multi-purpose commons adds another gathering space and performance venue within our community. Added gyms at the middle school and at West View provide additional athletic practice and game venues for area teams and tournaments which could result in increased revenue for our local businesses and hotels. This bond is added value across our amazing community.
Q: Why is the District seeking a Replacement EP&O Levy?
A: Levies are for learning. The two-year Educational Programs and Operations Levy is the only locally approved ballot measure that directly pays for basic general classroom and operational needs such as special education, curriculum, athletics and other co-curricular activities, and staff salaries that are not fully funded by the state.
The McCleary Decision provides more money to schools but does not eliminate the need for local levies. Like a subscription, local school levies must be renewed with the approval of voters or the funding will be lost. Our current levy expires in 2020. If renewed, this levy will allow the District to collect $20,824,000 over two years. That represents 18% of our total operating budget.
Q: Why did the District choose to run both the Capital Bond and the Replacement EP&O Levy at the same time?
A: Working with consultants from ESD 112, the Board considered historical bond and levy results from other school districts across Washington. Statistically, there is little difference in passage rates when running a singular bond, a singular levy, or both a bond and a levy.
Q: Didn’t the District run a Capital Bond in February 2019?
A: Yes. The 2019 Capital Bond was more expensive ($98.3M) compared to the 2020 Capital Bond ($89M). This 2019 Capital Bond received a 53.02% passage rate. In the state of Washington, bonds need a supermajority of 60% in order to pass.
Q: How are bonds and levies approved?
A: Both bonds and levies require voter approval, but in Washington bonds require a higher majority of voter approval than levies
Bonds require a supermajority to pass (60%).
Levies require a simple majority to pass (50% + 1).
Q: What Projects are Proposed?
A:  The proposed projects for the capital bond are:
$76-million for the construction of a new middle school for 7th and 8th grade students;
$11-million for upgrading food service facilities and a gymnasium addition at West View Elementary;
The remainder of the funding will go towards the relocation of the Burlington North Alternative School to the District Office campus off of Fairhaven Avenue and significant safety and security upgrades at all elementary buildings.
Q: How is the 2020 Capital Bond different than the 2019 Capital Bond that did not pass?
A: To keep costs down, the 2020 bond proposal does not include upgrades to the high school. Alternatively, the District is committed to engaging in 6-year capital improvement plan that includes a 2025 High School Bond Planning Committee with the intent to run a 2026 Capital Bond to address needs at the High School.
Q: How does school funding work in Washington state?
A: Funding for education in the state of Washington is complicated and can lead to questions about how schools receive the money needed to serve our community’s children. Funds for schools come from three main areas:
  1. state funding for basic education,
  2. bonds,
  3. and levies.
The state of Washington is required to supply school districts with state funding for "basic education". Funding for basic education is based on a "prototypical school model” which represents the Legislature’s allocation of resources required to provide the program of basic education.
Outside of state funding, schools may receive money for facilities, programs, and services from voter-approved bonds and levies. Because the funding provided by the state does not cover the actual costs to operate a school district, districts often utilize bonds and levies to bridge the gap.
Q: What is included in the Capital Bond?
A: The scope of the proposed $89M bond would include the construction of a new middle school, safety and security improvements, relocation of Burlington North alternative high school, and improvements to West View Elementary (including upgrades to its food service facilities and a new gym).
Each of our elementary schools will be positively impacted by the passage of this bond, most notable by decreasing the overall student population and increase safety and security measures at each site. This will allow for lower class sizes and the ability to focus school wide on developmentally appropriate student support models.
Q: What is the difference between a bond and levy?
A:  The easiest way to remember the difference between a bond and a levy is: Bonds are for building and levies are for learning.* Bonds and levies provide schools with funds that must be used for specific purposes. *The statement “levies are for learning” primarily refers to enrichment levies.
A Levy is a local property tax passed by the voters of a school district that generates revenue to fund programs and services that the state does not pay for as part of “basic education.” Because the funding provided by the state does not cover the actual costs to operate a school district, districts often use levy funds to hire additional staff, or for student programming and services that are underfunded or not funded by the state. Some of the many things that levies help to fund may include: extracurricular activities, special education, transportation, food service, operations, grounds and maintenance, preschool, and other activities. There are three main types of levies: enrichment, capital, and transportation levies, although this is not a complete list.
Educational Programs and Operations (EP&O) levies allow a school district to provide things like teachers, support staff, supplies and materials, or services that the state only partially funds. Funding provided by the state does not fully cover the actual costs to operate a school district, so EP&O levies fill in the gap.
Examples include: more teachers for smaller class sizes, additional counselors or nurses, student activities and sports, staff training, or preschool programs. EP&O ­­­­levies can be approved for up to four years.
Other levies that fall outside the broad definition of an enrichment levy include:
Capital levies (which includes tech levies) to fund things like modern technology, enhanced building security, and smaller renovation projects. Capital levies can be approved for up to six years.
Transportation levies fund things like new buses or major repairs to older buses to prolong their useful life. Transportation levies can be approved for up to two years.
NOTE: In simple terms, a replacement levy is the renewal of an existing enrichment, capital, or transportation levy that is about to expire. Typically, if a district is asking for a replacement levy to be approved by voters, it means that it is simply the continuation of an existing tax.
A Bond is a long-term investment that authorizes the district to purchase property for schools, construct new schools, or modernize existing schools. Bonds are sold to investors who are repaid with interest over time from property tax collections, generally between 12-20 years.
Q: Why is a new school needed?
A:  Two reasons:
  1. To address shifts in enrollment
    1. We have 42 portables across the district and cannot add any more at elementary schools. With new housing developments and apartments being constructed across our District, we anticipate increases in enrollment that will further strain our buildings’ capacities.
    2. The Burlington-Edison School Board recognizes the physical school facility plays a critical role in the education of our children. With the right support our students can participate in experiential learning that inspires them to engage in the deeper learning so necessary for future success.
  2. To meet legislative requirements to reduce class sizes.
    1. In addition to planning for future growth, B-ESD is struggling to meet legislative requirements to reduce class sizes and increase staffing support for students in all K-12 grades. This need is further stressed with additional class-size reductions and staffing increases in high-poverty schools. Our schools are already beyond maximum capacity, and we no longer have space to place portable classrooms our properties.
    2. The District’s 2016 Capital Facilities Plan identified the permanent capacity of each school based on the number of permanent classrooms (excluding portables) with standard of 25 students per classroom. The permanent capacity of our schools is identified below, along with the actual number of students served in May of 2018. This is a strong indicator that our schools are serving more students than they were designed to support.
Q: Why change from the District's long-standing K-8 model to a K-6 elementary and 7-8 middle school model?
A: One middle school can provide students with far more classes in science, technology, engineering, arts and math than our current four elementary schools with 7th and 8th grades. This will greatly enhance the student’s transition to high school - a Board Goal.
B-ESD has always taken pride in the traditional K-8 format; however, the model has been proving more difficult to maintain during the past decade primarily due to space and educational programming. Even today two-fifths of our elementary schools have needed to transition away from the K-8 Model. Lucille Umbarger supports grades 1st to 8th, with their students attending kindergarten at West View. West View supports Pre-K through 6th grade, with students transitioning to LU for 7th grade. In addition, the three schools that do maintain the K-8 structure house most middle school students in portables.
In addition to a discrepancy between the grades served at each school, we see variation in programming offered to our middle school aged students. A 2014 review of middle-level programing on our campus showed the following:
We can observe a similar discrepancy in programs offered to our middle school aged students between B-ESD and our neighboring districts.
As much as we value this tradition and recognize the positives of a K-8 school system, we also have to be willing to consider change if it presents the best model for today’s students. Our students, from every elementary school, deserve equitable access to high caliber programming (e.g., arts, technology, engineering, foreign language, multiple levels of science, math, English Language Arts), to prepare them for high school and beyond.
Q: Why a Middle School?
A: Our longtime K through 8 system divides our 7th and 8th graders among 5 grade schools scattered throughout the area. This prevents us from offering middle schoolers the same opportunities and electives as found in neighboring districts, or even offering the same programs at each school within our district.
The multi-story middle school will maximize the use of the site to the north of the high school, accommodating core subject classrooms, science labs, a variety of electives like world language, choir, drama, and career and technical education lab classes, two gyms and a multi-purpose commons/cafeteria.
Building a middle school will eliminate inconsistent elementary school transitions and create much-needed space in elementary schools to lower class sizes, expand programs and accommodate growth in enrollment.
Q: Why a 7-8 middle school rather than a 6-8 middle school?
A: 7-8 grade middle school would be a more manageable population size (around 600 students), rather than a 6-8 school (around 900 students).
The Middle-Level Programming Committee reviewed data and came back to the Board with a preferred option to make it a 7-8 middle school. This model follows the B-ESD tradition of seeking to create reasonable sized schools that focus on community. This also supports the community’s desire for our youngest students to have older students to emulate and creates new leadership opportunities for our 6th grade students.
Q: Why build the middle school on school district property north of the high school?
A: The Burlington-Edison School Board has been reviewing sites for a potential school for the past several years, with an emphasis on property already owned by the District. Theisen Architects finalized their Property Development Analysis for the Burlington-Edison School District on March 25, 2016. Based on these findings the District had one viable building option, the property north of B-EHS.
Q: How is the investor “rating” of a bond determined?
A:  When a bond issue is approved by voters, the school district receives a “rating” on its financial condition. This “rating” communicates the level of risk to investors who may purchase the district’s bonds. The higher a district’s rating, the lower the risk to investors and the lower the interest rate district taxpayers will pay for that bond.
Q: What is a levy rate?
A: A levy rate is the amount of property tax per $1,000 of assessed property value to fund a voter approved levy amount. A levy rate of $1.00 means that for every $1,000 of property value, the owner of the property will have to pay $1.00 in taxes.
  • Example: If a homeowner has a home valued at $200,000 and the levy rate is $1.00 for every $1,000 of assessed property value, the homeowner will pay $200 annually in property taxes.
Q: Why do different districts generate different amounts of levy dollars when they have the same estimated levy rate?
A: Districts can have the same levy rate but raise very different amounts of money because the total property value within a district’s boundary varies greatly across the state.
  • For example, a levy rate of $1.00 in a district with an average property value of $200,000 will generate $200 per household in levy funding.
  • On the other hand, a district with a $1.00 levy rate and an average property value of $700,000 will generate $700 per household for the same level of property tax.
Q: How often can school districts run levies?
A:  Depending on the type of levy (enrichment, capital (including tech), or transportation), voters can approve levies for one to six years. After the allotted number of years, the levy expires. Districts may then go back to their voters and ask for a continuation, or replacement levy.
Q: How often can school districts run enrichment levies?
A:  Voters can approve an enrichment levy for up to four years. After the allotted number of years, the levy expires. Districts typically then go back to their voters and ask for a continuation, replacement, or enrichment levy.
Q: Is there a limit on the dollar amount a district may propose for an enrichment levy?
A: Yes. This maximum dollar amount is known as the “levy lid.” As part of the changes the Legislature made to the way the state funds education in Washington, also known as the “McCleary decision,” levy rates are capped at $2.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value. A levy may not collect more than $2,500 per student maximum ($3,000 per student in Seattle only), a dollar threshold which is adjusted annually based on inflation. *NOTE: the levy lid only applies to enrichment levies, not capital or transportation levies.
Q: Do all public schools receive state funding?
A: Yes, but the amount that districts receive varies based on a number of factors.
  1. For example: Enrollment, regional cost of living differences, poverty rates, and the number of special needs or non-English speaking students are all factors in the amount of state funding a district receives. Most districts also receive additional federal funding, which is mostly determined by levels of poverty and special needs populations within a district.
Q: Didn’t Washington schools already receive money from the state because of the McCleary decision?
A: Yes, but the funding does not cover the actual costs of operating a school district. The Washington State Supreme Court decision on the McCleary lawsuit resulted in public school districts seeing a net funding increase in 2018. Even though the state increased the amount of funding it was providing to school districts, it also capped the amount of funding school districts can raise from local levies. The Legislature also applied restrictions to how funding can be used. For local school districts, this means that levies have been significantly impacted, causing widespread confusion in communities across the state.
Q: What are “state match dollars”?
A: Many school districts can qualify for additional financial assistance from the state of Washington to help build or modernize facilities. The state determines the amount of square footage that each student needs (the amounts are different for elementary, middle, and high schools) and assigns a dollar amount per square foot based on current average construction cost estimates. Both new construction and remodeling projects can be eligible for state assistance. While these matching funds are helpful for bond projects, only a limited percentage of actual costs are typically covered using this formula, leaving the rest of the cost to the school district and the local community (via a bond or capital levy).
Q: What are school “impact fees”?
A: School district boards and county governments can pass policies requiring developers to pay “impact fees” on all new construction to help pay for new schools. An impact fee is a fee that is imposed by a local government on a new or proposed development project to pay for all or a portion of the costs of providing public services to the new development, such a school. Impact fees are more common in high growth areas where new homes are creating the need for additional classrooms or schools. Generally, impact fees alone will not generate enough money to build a new school.
Q: Is there a tax break for senior citizens?
A: Yes! Washington State law provides two tax benefit programs for senior citizens and individuals who are disabled: property tax exemptions and property tax deferrals. For more information on qualifications, please contact your local county assessor's office.
Q: Where will the Burlington North (Alternative High School) classrooms be relocated?
A: Burlington-North will be relocated to the B-E District Office campus.
Q: What will happen with reduced student populations at the District's current elementary schools once the middle school is completed?
A: The majority of core programming should be returned from portables to classrooms within the physical school buildings. The infrastructure (e.g. restrooms, gyms, cafeterias) will return to supporting the number of students for which they were designed. Schools will be able to support all students in their communities. The District will have the physical space to support legislatively funded lower class-sizes. Some remaining space may be used for expansion of support programs like Opportunity K, while maintaining room for predicted growth in student enrollment. With the passage of the bond, some of the current 42 portable classrooms will be removed.
Q: What information did the Board consider before approving this bond proposal?
A: The Board began with a goal in 2014 to conduct a Property Development Analysis to identify suitability and feasibility of school construction on current district properties, and to evaluate student enrollment and programs to identify future classroom needs. The Board continued exploration during the 2016 - 2017 with an evaluation educational programming through the formation of a community centered Middle-Level Programming Committee. During the 2017 - 2018 school year the Board charged the Facility Advisory Committee to recommend a facilities remodel and construction plan for the next bond measure.
Throughout this process the Board and committees reviewed data, community surveys through Thought-exchange, met with staff, student and community for feedback. All of their steps and findings are on the B-ESD website as “Middle-Grade Programming School Property” under the “Family/Community” menu, or via the following link: https://www.be.wednet.edu/familycommunity/facilities-programming-review
Q: How will the Capital Bond and Replacement Levy affect property taxes?
A: The District anticipates an average bond rate of approximately $1.37 per thousand of assessed value over the 20-year period. The tables below were presented to the B-ESD Board to reflect the tax rates associated with proposed bond.
Q: What is the Projected Tax Rate for the bond?
A: This table reflects the tax rates associated with the bond. The Board deliberately waited until the previous capital bond was paid off before submitting a new one to the voters.
Similar to a mortgage, bonds may be paid over 20 years, helping to keep annual costs lower for taxpayers. For the bond, the average projected tax rate is $1.37 per one thousand dollars of assessed value. For a home assessed at $300K, that would be $34.25 per month.
Q: What information did the Board consider before approving this bond proposal?
A: The Board began with a goal in 2014 to conduct a Property Development Analysis to identify suitability and feasibility of school construction on current district properties, and to evaluate student enrollment and programs to identify future classroom needs. The Board continued exploration during the 2016 - 2017 with an evaluation educational programming through the formation of a community centered Middle-Level Programming Committee. During the 2017 - 2018 school year the Board charged the Facility Advisory Committee to recommend a facilities remodel and construction plan for the next bond measure.
Throughout this process the Board and committees reviewed data, community surveys through Thought-exchange, met with staff, student and community for feedback. All of their steps and findings are on the B-ESD website as “Middle-Grade Programming School Property” under the “Family/Community” menu, or via the following link: https://www.be.wednet.edu/familycommunity/facilities-programming-review
Q: What is the Projected Tax Rate for the Replacement Levy?
A: For the replacement levy, the average projected tax rate is $2.50 per one thousand dollars of assessed value. For a $300K home, that would be $62.50/month. This is a replacement tax - not a new tax.
Q: What is the status of other B-E District bonds?
A: The district currently has one outstanding bond. The 2010 bond expires in 2024 and has an average rate of $0.16 per thousand of assessed value.
Q: How can I find out more information about the bond?
A: The B-ESD Board will continue to upload documents to the B-ESD website.
You can use the following link to find out more information: https://www.be.wednet.edu/district-office/besd-school-board/bond
Q: Will a middle school impact mentoring?
A: B-ESD continue to believe in the power of young students being inspired by their older peers, and mentoring can play a critical role in this work. A move to a middle school does not eliminate this as a possibility for our 7th and 8th grade students, but could make mentoring a more intentional component of an educational experience. Additionally, we foresee greater opportunities for 6th grader students to assume mentoring responsibilities at each school. A transition to a middle school model has the potential to increase mentoring opportunities for students.
Q: How will a middle school impact bussing?
A: Throughout the exploration process we have consulted with our Transportation Department. We have the capacity to support a middle school model and projected growth. A transition to a middle school model will have a beneficial impact on co-curricular activities for our middle school age students.
Q: How will a middle school impact traffic?
A: Working with the planning committee, as well as the city of Burlington, architects will work to limit negative traffic implications and design safe traffic flow into the new school site.
Q: Can West View Elementary be turned into a middle school?
A: The Property Development Analysis completed by Theisen Architects found that remodeling West View would have a similar cost to building a new middle school. A West View remodel would not address the physical classroom supports necessary to address the district’s middle-level programming needs, and would require the building of another K-6 school. This approach would be cost prohibitive and not meet the educational needs of our students.