What does a Levy pay for?

Bethel’s Educational Programs & Operations Levy is up for renewal in 2022

Bethel Schools
4 min readSep 24, 2021


Next year, our district will have two levies up for renewal. These levy dollars are separate from the 2019 bond that is funding new schools and renovations in our district.

Bonds are for building, while levies are for learning.

Our Educational Programs and Operations Levy was last renewed in 2018, and helps pay for critical things like special education programs and extra transportation costs — items the state does not fully fund. Our Technology Levy, which was first passed in 2014 and last renewed in 2018, funds our iPad program that helped our district transition quickly to online learning during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Let’s take a quick look at how the Educational Programs and Operations Levy helps students across the district.

In the Classroom

Can you imagine a school that just teaches reading, math, science and social studies?

With no electives?

Levy dollars are incredibly impactful because they provide opportunities for students. It gives them the chance to be creative in a visual art class; to perform in band, choir, and orchestra; and to participate in team sports.

Our students deserve these options. They also deserve top notch, world class curriculum, and levies help us purchase new instructional materials ensure our students are college and career ready when they graduate.


Aurelia Cuilan is one of the incredible family of Bethel bus drivers.

Our district covers 202 square miles and we don’t have very many safe walking paths — in fact, only 9% of our district has sidewalks. So the levy is really important to our transportation department, as it helps make up the difference in the budget that the state doesn’t fund, so we can safely transport thousands of students from home to school and back again each day.

Bethel has been a pioneer in the transportation world. For over half a decade, we have been replacing some of our old diesel buses with new, more fuel-efficient propane school buses.

Bethel was the first district in the United States to use the Blue Bird Vision propane buses, which are 90% cleaner than the current EPA standards.

Not only are the propane buses more environmentally friendly, but they’re also much quieter. Bus drivers say that feature makes their job easier and makes for a safer drive.

Special Education

Angela Martin works with a student at Centennial Elementary School.

The shift to distance learning last year was challenging for everyone, but it was especially difficult for our special needs students, who often rely on hands-on instruction.

Even before we began transitioning back to school using a hybrid learning model this past spring, special education teachers were already working with a limited number of students in their Resource Rooms.

With students and teachers all back in the classroom full time this fall, Special Education funding is more important than ever. What the state doesn’t provide for, the Educational Programs and Operations Levy supplements, so all students are able to to reach their full potential.


Spanaway Lake High School, Photo Credit: Hunter Haegele

Levy dollars also help take care of things like utility costs, heating and cooling our buildings, and much more.

The COVID-19 pandemic showed us some areas for improvement in the district, particularly when it came to ventilation and indoor air quality.

The district was using filters with a MERV rating of 8. Due to the pandemic, the move was made to increase filtration to MERV 13 filters.

MERV 13 is what hospitals use at their lowest level.

Keeping students safe so they can learn is always our top priority. Not only does the levy help fund our building security staff, but it helps keep our door entry cameras up to date.

The levy also helps fund new furnaces, and helps us with our interior and exterior lighting. Spanaway Elementary School was the first school in our district to make the change to LED lighting. It was such a big change that representatives from the U.S. Department of Education visited the school to see the impact for themselves.

Levy Renewal Election in 2022

We’ll be sharing a lot more information about our Educational Programs and Operations Levy and the Technology Levy in the coming months. If you’re not registered to vote yet, please do so now at votewa.gov



Bethel Schools

Helping kids learn is the driving force behind all we do in the Bethel School District.