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Frequently Asked Questions

What will the bond and levy projects accomplish?
The bond and levy includes projects interwoven to meet the highest priority needs in four areas:

  1. Safety - particularly with attention to school entrances to better control who comes in and goes out of a school. The projects also include security camera upgrades and updated telephone systems to ensure routine communications and communication during emergencies.

  2. Maintenance - because maintenance done now will reduce the cost of more expensive repairs later. The bond includes renovations of North Middle and Woodside Elementary schools. Both schools, originally built in 1981, are 35 years old.

    Woodside, with a permanent capacity of 540 students, now has 685 students from kindergarten through fifth-grade with 10 portables on site.

    North and Woodside were built as “California-style” sprawling campuses. That design is recognized today as less-than-ideal for many reasons, including multiple entrances and exits making it difficult to monitor who is entering the campus and buildings.

    New roofs, new flooring, paint, new HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) systems will extend the life of other schools. Much like a home, schools need regular maintenance. Unlike a home, schools are host to hundreds and thousands of students and adults each day. 

  3. Growth needs - enrollment projections indicate almost 2,000 more students will be enrolled in the district over the next seven years. The bond includes a new elementary school in the southern portion of the district where growth is fastest. The projects also include more portable classrooms to ease overcrowding at schools until more schools can be built. 

  4. Equitable access to educational technology - in keeping with the community's expectation that "each" student achieve to high standards. These proposals also replace outdated technology and improve the infrastructure to accommodate new technology. These proposals give teachers and students access to a computer. Today’s successful workers are expected to come into their careers skilled using technology, doing research and using common software. The proposals are designed to give students experience and training needed to be successful in the modern economy – and provide teachers with tools and training to use technology to stimulate learning.

What is the difference between a bond and a capital levy?
A Bond provides funding for larger projects that last for a longer time. Bonds are financed over a longer time – 10 to 20 years, like home mortgages. Levies are for shorter-lived projects. Funding for levies comes in equal installments during the four to six year duration of a levy.

Generally speaking:
  1. Bonds are for building – schools and larger construction and remodeling projects or large “systems” such as WiFi or fiber optic installation. 

  2. Levies are for learning – equipment, technology, competitive staff salaries or staff to support systems such as educational technology and the networks and maintenance needed to keep the systems up and running.
Capital levy funds come to the district in equal installments over six years. Bond funds come to the district from investors who buy the bonds as investments. The district sells the bonds to investors as needed for capital projects.

For more information about bond and levies and how they are used, see the video online.

What will each school get if the bond and levy are approved?
 Each school will receive technology infrastructure upgrades, security measures and equitable access to technology. Other projects vary between schools based on their age and need for certain maintenance projects. See a list of projects by school.

Why do Washington schools have bonds and capital levies?
Washington state does not fund the cost of building new schools, renovating older schools or costly maintenance projects. The state does allow districts to ask local voters for those funds.

Voters approve capital levies and operational levies with a simple majority vote – 50 percent plus 1. Bonds require a supermajority approval – 60 percent.

What is a capital levy?
A capital levy can be as long as six years. Capital levies are used for larger projects with shorter life spans. For example, the capital levy on the ballot on April 26 includes buying computers and security cameras. A capital levy doesn’t involve debt to investors like a bond does. This makes a capital levy a less costly way of paying for capital projects.

Capital levy funds come to the district in equal installments over six years.

Why is this capital levy called a “replacement” capital levy?
Because this capital levy “replaces” the capital levy that expires this year. The 2016 replacement capital levy is not a new tax, but a “replacement” of the capital levy voters approved in 2010.
 
If capital levies save on interest fees, why doesn’t the district do all projects with capital levies?
Because the tax rate would be too high. Capital levies are collected over six years from those who own property in the school district. Compare that six year time-frame to the longer time for paying a home mortgage.

Most homeowners spread the cost of a home over 15 to 30 years. The shorter the payback time, the higher the monthly payments. In the same way, collecting all capital project costs over just six years would drive the tax rate very high.

How can bond money be used?
State law mandates that bond funds are used to build or renovate school facilities, buy land, or buy capital items such as portables or equipment.

Bond dollars cannot be used for classroom operations or salaries. But bonds can play a very important part in safeguarding school operational dollars.

For example, if a school roof fails, replacing it can cost as much as $2 million. Without bond funds, the district must use classroom dollars to pay to replace the roof. That $2 million is the equivalent of funding 23 teachers for one year.
 
Why does the bond not include a new high school south of the existing Henry M. Jackson High School?
Because of the high cost of building a new high school. If a new high school were part of this bond request, the cost for tax payers would more than double. A new high school could cost as much as $160 million dollars.

In 2014, voters were asked to approve a bond that included the first phase of a new high school and plans for future additions to that school over time. Although that proposal earned 58 percent majority approval, a bond requires 60 percent supermajority approval, so the bond in 2014 failed – once in February and again in April.

In follow-up community meetings, residents said the 2014 bond request was too much (the 2014 bond asked voters to approve $259.4 million compared to $149.7 million this April.) Those who attended meetings and took part in online discussions felt the district should take “smaller bites” with bond requests.

How does a bond process work?
First, 60 percent or more of the voters approve a specific amount (in this case $149,700,000) for the district to use for capital projects as outlined in the ballot language.

As the district works on construction projects, it sells municipal bonds to investors. These are usually large institutional investors. The district sells these at the lowest possible interest rate.

The interest rate is based on the district’s bond rating—the higher the bond rating, the lower the interest rate to sell the bonds. Everett Public Schools is one of the highest rated districts in the state. This means district taxpayers pay less in school bond interest than do residents of districts with lower bond ratings.

What does it take to pass a bond or levy?
Levies require a simple majority, 50 percent plus 1, to pass. Bonds require 60 percent, a supermajority, to pass.

What will my tax rate be?
With the passage of the capital levy and bondin April 2016, the tax rate is projected to be $5.86 per $1,000 of property value. Tax collection of that $5.86 rate would begin in 2017. 

Are there tax exemptions for some?
Yes, senior citizens (61+), veterans and disabled persons may qualify for property tax exemptions. To learn more visit the Snohomish County Assessor’s website.

How do I register to vote?
To vote in an election, you need to register the Monday 4 weeks before election day, if you are registering by mail or online, or the Monday 1 week before election day, if you are registering in person.

You can register online, or you can pick up a voter registration form at any school or the Community Resource Center.

I have more questions. Who can I talk to for answers?
• You can send questions by email to BondAndLevy@everettsd.org
• You can call the communications department at 425-385-4040
• You can call the facilities and planning department at 425-385-4190
• You can send questions by email to the school board at schoolboard@everettsd.org
• You can send questions by email to the superintendent at superintendent@everettsd.org

 

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