Kent School District Funding Sources
Our schools receive money from four sources.
1. Federal Government (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.
2. Washington State (about 78%)
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.
3. Local (about 16%)
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.
4. Grants and Other Sources (about <1%)
These revenue sources include grants, revenue from other school districts, agencies and other financing sources.
The Difference Between Bonds & Levies
Simply stated, levies are for learning, and bonds are for building.
Each and every student in our community benefits every day from the resources provided by our voters, thank you for your support in successfully preparing all children for their futures.
By law, bonds may not be used to pay for the day-to-day costs of operating schools or school districts. Bonds provide funds only for capital projects, such as:
- New schools
- Acquisition of property
- Renovation or modernization of schools and athletic facilities
There is a gap between what the state funds and the education Kent School District provides to students. Local levy funds make up the difference.
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
Our Community Votes on Levies Every 2-4 Years
- By law, operations levies can only be proposed for a period of four years or less.
- Typically, school districts propose levies of two to six 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.
The state education funding plan passed by the legislature in 2017 was a step in the right direction, but it is a work in progress. The state Supreme Court has ruled that the state is not yet fully covering all basic education costs.
Much of the new state funding comes from shifting some property tax dollars that now go directly to local schools from the state; the state will then redistribute those dollars back to school districts.
in February 2018, Kent School District voters were asked to renew an expiring educational programs and operations levy for two-years and a six-year technology and capital levy. Both levies were approved by voters.
Learn more about the 2018 levy measures.