Frequently Asked Questions
What is the levy, and how is it different than a bond?
The Spokane community has a long history of supporting Spokane Public Schools levies and bonds to provide a well-rounded education in updated school facilities for students.
Through a levy, local communities help enrich basic education programs and activities not funded by the state that are necessary to provide students with a well-rounded education. The February 2024 replacement levy is being planned to maintain essential services and positions to serve students, including nurses, counselors, reasonable class sizes, extracurricular activities and more.
A bond gives local communities the opportunity to fund new or modernized schools, facility, and security improvements. Bond monies cannot be used to operate schools and fund programs. The February ballot will also include a bond measure to fund schools needing repairs.
What does the 2024 replacement Educational Program and Operations levy pay for?
The levy pays for essential services not fully funded by the state, including:
Sports, clubs, music, art, drama and intramural programs
Multilingual Language Support
Highly capable programs
Education Programs and School Supports:
Teachers for low class sizes
Advanced Placement (AP) courses
School building support like main office staff and paraeducators
Technology like laptops for students
School support services like facilities and safety, etc.
This chart provides information about local levy contributions to annual necessary program and service budgets:
Why is Spokane Public Schools asking for levy money now?
Washington school districts are limited to a maximum of four years for Educational Programs and Operations levies before they need to ask the community for renewal.
Spokane Public Schools is on a three-year levy cycle. The last levy election passed by voters was in 2021 to help fund district programs and operations in 2022, 2023, and 2024. As the 2021 levy expires, a replacement levy must be approved to continue funding those programs and operations in 2025, 2026 and 2027.
What will be my tax rate if both the bond and levy are approved, and how will it compare to past bonds and levies?
The graph below shows the tax rate history for Spokane Public Schools’ bonds and levies since 2010, as well as the estimated rates for 2025, 2026 and 2027.
Property values are rising in Spokane. Will that affect the levy?
Voters approve a maximum levy amount, not a rate. Spokane Public Schools cannot collect more than the total amount approved by voters, so increases in property values do not generate more revenue for the school district. As property values rise, the tax rate is adjusted downward.
The rate is determined per $1,000 of assessed value across the total value of property within the school District. As property values change the rate changes to collect the amount approved by the voters and also cannot exceed a rate of $2.50 per $1,000.
Spokane Public Schools just built three new middle schools, a stadium, and re-built three other middle schools, in addition to other projects, in its previous bond. Why does the district need to re-build more schools?
There are 57 schools throughout Spokane Public Schools serving approximately 29,000 students. Keeping our schools safe, modern and ready for growth requires a long-range, phased approach to re-building and updating our schools. Spokane Public Schools foresaw the need to gradually construct new, replace or update aging school buildings 20 years ago, and set out on a long-range plan that continues today. Many of the projects on the 2024 bond, the latest phase in this ongoing plan, are for schools that are 60 to more than 100 years old.
With 57 schools to maintain, the district’s phased approach addresses the needs of the district and keeps tax bills stable.
What about the schools not listed in this bond? Will those schools be addressed with this bond?
In each bond, Spokane Public Schools plans for smaller facility improvements, technology upgrades and security and safety improvements at all 57 schools in the district.
These improvements can include classroom remodels and upgrades, playground equipment, roofing replacements, HVAC system upgrades, upgraded security systems and more.
How much of the district's overall budget is spent on central administration?
At Spokane Public Schools, 4.77% of the district’s annual operating budget is devoted to central administration. Our district has consistently operated with a smaller central office staff than other districts of similar size. Below you will see the percentage of 2023-2024 budget that is spent on central administration in comparison to other districts.Spokane - 4.77%
Evergreen - 5.72%
Vancouver - 5.03%
Federal Way - 5.70%
Tacoma - 5.86%
Seattle – 5.80%
Kent - 6.74%