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    Planning for the Operations Levy

    In February 2019, Seattle voters will have the opportunity to vote on two Seattle Public Schools levy renewals — an Operations Levy and a Capital Levy. Both levies replace expiring levies previously approved by Seattle voters.

    In November 2018, the Seattle School Board will determine the amount to be requested through the 2019 Operations Levy. The amount will take into account changes to funding from the State of Washington, state requirements and the school district's budget.

    Why Seattle Public Schools needs an Operations Levy

    The money to operate Seattle Public Schools comes from multiple sources. The largest share is provided by the State of Washington. The second largest share comes from the local voter-approved levy.

    The Operations Levy helps pay for basic day-to-day operations and funds the gap between state funding and what each school needs. The levy funds counselors, librarians, nurses, as well as building security, textbooks and classroom supplies, bilingual and special education services and student activities such as athletics, drama and music. Levy funds also go toward professional development for teachers.

    State funding changes (McCleary)

    Despite recent work on school funding by the state Legislature, there is still a gap between the amount the state intends to supply and the amount it costs to run the school district. For example, funding for special education services will be increased but not enough to fully cover the cost of providing these important services. The gap between what the state funds for special education services and what SPS provides is estimated at $69 million in the 2017-18 school year and a $57 million shortfall in the 2018-19 school year.

    Local levy funds stay in Seattle

    In order to provide additional funding for schools across the state, the state Legislature authorized property tax increases specifically for schools. When these funds are collected, they will be divided among all school districts in the state. The state also limits how these funds can be spent. In comparison, the money from school levies approved by Seattle voters goes directly to Seattle Public Schools and is available to fund programs and services that our residents feel are important.

    Community events

    Community meetings: April 2-26, 2018