BEX IV and Operations Levies FAQ

Updated November 9, 2012

When will the BEX IV Capital Levy be voted on?

The BEX IV Capital Levy resolution was adopted by the School Board on November 7, 2012 and will be submitted to Seattle Voters in a special election in February, 2013.

What challenges are addressed by the BEX IV Capital Levy? 

  • School Safety and Security
  • Enrollment Growth and Capacity
  • School Facility Conditions
  • Accessibility/Flexibility for Programs and Services
  • Updating Technology

When will you decide where to permanently place programs?

The School Board will adopt a BEX IV project list as part of their levy resolution in November 2012. Once the final project list has been determined, and if the BEX IV Capital Levy passes in February 2013, we will then develop a process to identify locations for programs.

What is the process for the District to mitigate the impacts of BEX IV projects on the community and environment – traffic, parking, infrastructure, open/recreation space, etc. – and how can neighbors and the community have a voice in this process?

In accordance with the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), Seattle Schools will prepare appropriate project-level environmental review for each BEX IV construction project.  Depending on the scope and complexity of the project, one of the three processes outlined below will be executed:

  • An Addendum to the BEX IV Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), approved in Fall 2012;
  • A SEPA Checklist; or
  • A Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

Whichever process is chosen, the environmental review will identify the likely environmental impacts of executing the project, as well as the actions needed to reasonably mitigate those impacts.  In some cases, Seattle Schools may hold open houses or public meetings to further solicit community input. Once the SEPA process is complete – including the appeals process, if any – Seattle Schools will finalize its proposal and submit an application for a Master Use Permit (MUP) to the City’s Department of Planning and Development. The City may impose additional conditions on the project as part of its permit decision. The MUP process typically includes its own appeal process, in addition to and independent of the District process. 

In addition to the avenues for public engagement and feedback summarized above, the District will include members of the surrounding community on the School Design Team for all BEX IV major construction projects

Why are you proposing to submit BEX IV as a capital levy and not a bond?

The reason the district is seeking a capital levy versus a bond is several fold.  First, a capital levy is collected over a six-year period in even increments of 1/6th cash each year.  Since there is no issuance of debt via bonds which require that interest be paid to investors, this is the less costly method of paying for capital construction projects.  Second, a bond measure requires a 60% yes vote (and, additionally, meeting a validation minimum number of votes based upon the most previous general election ... in this case, a presidential election held in November, 2012) versus a capital levy which requires a 50% +1 majority vote.

Are you making seismic improvements to any buildings in BEX IV?

About 50 schools would receive seismic upgrades as part of the proposed BEX IV Capital Levy project list. Seismic consultants have found all of our existing buildings to be seismically sound, but we are continuing to make seismic upgrades over time to ensure student and staff safety.

What planning assumptions are you using in determining the proposed BEX IV project list?


  • SPS staff analysis
  • External demographer consultant
  • Facility and Capacity Management Advisory Committee (FACMAC)
  • Community input
  • October 1 enrollment data


  • Enrollment: Use high range K-5 and 6-8 forecasts in the North region, and medium range forecasts in all other regions and grade levels
  • Capacity: Unique school factors should be taken into account for capacity calculations

Which new schools would be built if the BEX IV Capital Levy Passes?

  • North East Elementary @Thornton Creek/Decatur site or equivalent additional seating capacity at another location – Opens 2016
  • Wilson Pacific Elementary – Opens 2017
  • Wilson Pacific Middle – Opens 2017
  • Jane Addams K-8 at new location – Opens 2017 

Which schools would be replaced?

  • Schmitz Park Elementary @ Genesee Hill with repurposing of Schmitz Park building for elementary seats – Opens 2015
  • Olympic Hills Elementary – Opens 2017
  • Arbor Heights Elementary – Opens 2018 or earlier if feasible
  • Wing Luke Elementary – Opens 2020

Which schools would receive modernization/classroom-core facility addition?

  • Fairmount Park Elementary – Opens 2014
  • Nova High School @ Mann – Opens 2014
  • Loyal Heights Elementary – Opens 2018
  • Queen Anne Elementary – Opens 2019
  • Bagley Elementary – Opens 2020 

Which schools would have their existing facilities repurposed and modernized?

  • Middle School @ Jane Addams – Opens 2017
  • World School @ New Location – Opens 2016
  • Meany Middle School – Opens 2017
  • Lincoln High School – Opens 2019 

Which schools would receive new lunchroom additions?

  • Green Lake Elementary
  • McGilvra Elementary

Which Schools would receive new science laboratories?

  • Aki Kurose Middle School
  • Eckstein Middle School
  • McClure Middle School
  • Mercer Middle School 

Which Schools would receive field and/or track upgrades (new or replacement)?

  • Eckstein Middle School
  • Ballard High School (track only)
  • Cleveland High School
  • View Ridge School (field only)
  • Thornton Creek (field only)

Which schools would receive roofing work?

  • Gatewood Elementary
  • Laurelhurst Elementary
  • Eckstein Middle School
  • Franklin High School
  • Whitman Middle School 

Are you making seismic improvements to any buildings in BEX IV?

About 50 schools would receive seismic upgrades as part of the proposed BEX IV Capital Levy project list. Seismic consultants have found all of our existing buildings to be seismically sound, but we are continuing to make seismic upgrades over time to ensure student and staff safety.

What school and security (seismic upgrades) improvements will be completed as part of BEX IV? (Note: all new, replaced, modernized and repurposed buildings would also receive seismic work.)

  • Dearborn Park Elementary
  • Decatur (Thornton Creek) Elementary
  • Eckstein MS
  • Franklin HS
  • Gatewood Elementary
  • Graham Hill Elementary
  • Ingraham HS
  • Kimball Elementary
  • Lafayette Elementary
  • Laurelhurst Elementary
  • Leschi Elementary
  • Lowell Elementary
  • Maple Elementary
  • McClure MS
  • McGilvra Elementary
  • Mercer MS
  • Montlake Elementary
  • Muir Elementary
  • North Beach Elementary
  • Rainier Beach HS
  • Rogers Elementary
  • Roxhill Elementary
  • Sacajawea Elementary
  • Sand Point Elementary
  • View Ridge Elementary
  • Washington MS
  • Wedgwood Elementary
  • Whitman MS
  • Whitworth (Orca) Elementary

Will the BEX IV Capital Levy reduce the major maintenance backlog?

Yes. The current backlog is $515 million. With the passage of BEX IV, the backlog would be reduced by $115 million. BTA III is currently reducing the backlog by $73 million.

Current Backlog: $515 M 
Reduction via BTA III: $73 M 
Reduction via BEX IV: $115 M*
Backlog after BTA III & BEX IV: $327 M 

*BEX IV results in an estimated 22% reduction of the Major Maintenance Backlog

How do you plan to address technology needs in BEX IV?

Classroom Technology
  • Replace student devices
  • Upgrade parent and student portals
  • Improve system tools  Response to Intervention  Learning Management  Professional
  • Development
  • Create teacher innovation program
Academic/Business Operations
  • Replace old systems
  • Enhance student file storage
  • Automate processes
  • Improve legal compliance
Infrastructure Maintenance
  • Ensure wireless in all schools
  • Renovate aged network
  • Enhance disaster recovery
  • Replace failing servers

What feedback did the community give regarding BEX IV related issues and projects?

School/ProgramMost Frequent Comments
APP @ Lincoln Find a permanent home
Arbor Heights Elementary

Build sooner

Daniel Bagley Elementary Put back on BEX IV list
Downtown School Yes to project; No to project
Jane Addams K-8

Keep as K-8, even if moved

Pinehurst K-8 Keep as K-8, even if moved
K-5 STEM @ Boren Find permanent home
Northeast Middle School Add a NE Middle School
Queen Anne Elementary Expand school; No expansion
Thornton Creek Elementary Don't add a second building: impacts fields
Do build a second building
Wilson Pacific Support new building

How would BEX IV Capital Levy funds be used?


  • Buildings (new schools & additions)
  • Capacity Flexibility
  • Technology
  • Academics (new programs i.e. IB, STEM)
  • Safety & Seismic Improvements
  • Capacity Management
  • Infrastructure (fields, roofs, utilities, equip.)
  • Lunchrooms/Core Facilities
  • Science Labs
  • Interim Downtown School
  • Major Preventive Maintenance
  • Administrative Costs

Return to BEX IV