Bonds & Levies

The Seeds of School Funding

A bond provides funding for capital projects such as purchasing property for schools, constructing new schools, or modernizing existing schools. Bonds are sold to investors who are repaid with interest over time from property tax collections, generally between 10-25 years.

BONDS

are for 

BUILDING

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Bonds need a 

supermajority

to pass

60%

A levy is a short-term, local property tax passed by the voters of a school district that generates revenue for the district to fund programs and services that the state does not fund or fully fund as part of “basic education."

LEVIES

are for

LEARNING

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Bonds need a 

supermajority to pass

Bonds need a 

supermajority to pass

Bonds need a 

supermajority to pass

50%

+1

Levies need a

simple majority

to pass

How are schools funded?

piechart.png

State Categorical Funds

State categorical funds must be used for specific categories such as special education, learning assistance, etc. These funds are given for specific programs and are not available for other purposes.

State General Funds

State general funds partially fund "basic education," which can include teachers and text books, but does not include many things that parents and teachers would assume are "basic."

Federal

Federal funds help to fund specific programs that support special education, disadvantaged students, students learning to speak English, and subsidization of food services. This amount has been dwindling over the years.

Local Taxes

12.89% of school funding comes from local property taxes and levies. Levy amounts are capped by the legislature: The district cannot raise more money than the limit. Funds provided by the state do not fully cover the actual costs to operate a school district, so levies bridge the gap.

*

*Other

A tiny fraction (less than 1%) comes from fees (0.003%) and other sources (0.44%) such as payments from other districts, joint programs, grants, and non-state agencies.

 

Transportation

Levies

A replacement levy is the renewal of an existing enrichment 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.

There are 3 main types of levies. 

Levies

Capital levies (which include tech levies) fund things like modern technology, enhanced building security, and renovation projects. Capital levies can be approved for up to six years.

 

Capital

&

Tech 

Levies

Enrichment levies, also known as Educational Programs and Services (EP&O) and Maintenance and Operations (M&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 enrichment levies bridge the gap in funding. Enrichment levies can be approved for up to four years.

 

Enrichment

Levies

 

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.