Our schools receive money from four sources:
- Federal Government (about 10%)
- Washington State (about 64%)
- Local (about 21%)
- Grants and Other Sources (about 5%)
The federal government provides financial support for high-poverty schools and students who require additional resources in order to obtain a fair, equitable, high-quality education. Federal dollars pay for a percentage of programs including Vocational Education, Special Education, Native American Education, English Language Acquisition, Disability and Nutrition as well as special grants.
The Basic Education Act of 1997 set a formula for giving each of the state’s school districts a certain dollar amount for every Full Time Equivalent (FTE) student (or, each student attending school all day). For students who need extra services, such as Special Education programs, Gifted Education, or Bilingual Education, there are state and federal formulas for additional dollars.
Additional state funding is provided for salaries for teachers with advanced degrees as well as for districts with fewer than 300 students.
Local funding is generated through levies and bonds approved by the voters. Both are based upon local property valuations—property owners pay a set amount for each $1,000 of property value. Once approved, bond and levy amounts cannot increase with property values. When property values increase in a community, the amount paid per $1,000 decreases. Senior citizens and low income property owners may apply for an exemption from bond and levy taxes.
Simply stated, levies are for learning, and bonds are for building.
At Highline Public Schools, we are very grateful to voters for their ongoing support of school operation levies. The children of our community benefit every day from the resources provided by you, the voters.
Levy dollars support student enrichment programs not fully funded by the state, such as:
- Student programs
- Teacher pay, for additional teachers above the state minimum
- Instructional assistants in classrooms
- Textbooks, curriculum, and teacher training
- Additional course offerings for students
- Arts and music
- Special education
- Bus transportation (not fully funded by the state)
- Building and grounds maintenance (not fully funded by the state)
- Computers and technology
- Gifted education programs
- Community use of facilities
Why are voters asked to approve levies every two to four years?
By law, operations levies can only be proposed for a period of four years or less. Typically, school districts propose levies of two, three, or four years. After the allotted number of years, the levy expires. Voters must approve a renewal of funding, or local financial support for schools ends. Generally, the levy you are voting on simply replaces one that is about to expire.