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A Transportation Levy Planning Advisory Group, which was made up of students, parents, staff and community members, prepared this recommendation in June 2016. They recommended critical updates for our aging bus fleet, purchasing buses to implement the new high school schedule in fall 2017 and to provide more access to field trips for all students, and installing bus technology for improved student safety. A school bus levy allows us to accomplish this without drawing away resources from teaching and learning, staffing and school operations.

Check out our frequently asked questions webpage.

Why is the school bus levy needed?

The state funding we receive does not cover the full cost of a school bus equipped for our use. And, similar to the rest of K-12 education, the state has not consistently funded school bus replacement during the last 20 years. Only partial funding is provided to replace school buses, and there is not funding to cover growing transportation needs. School districts around the state have responded by requesting transportation levies and by using general funds to purchase buses.

School Bus Levy

The school bus levy is needed for student safety, service and stewardship. Our school bus levy will:

  • Improve student SAFETY with bus technology and newer, safer buses to replace an aging fleet;
  • Provide school bus SERVICE to meet growing transportation needs for students with special needs or who are homeless; support more opportunities for students as defined in The Bellingham Promise, including an improved high school schedule and Promise Buses for field trips and educational programs; and
  • Foster good STEWARDSHIP of public funds and our environment by purchasing energy efficient buses and encouraging more students to ride the bus, walk or bike to school.

What is the impact?

To support these needs, voters will be asked to consider a two-year school bus levy for a total of $4.4 million. The cost of the school bus levy will be approximately 18 cents per $1,000 assessed value in 2017 and 17 cents per $1,000 assessed value in 2018. Combined with our bond and other school levies, the total rate increase for 2017 and 2018 would be approximately 13 cents per $1,000 assessed value from the rate of $4.73 approved by voters in February 2016. This is an estimated $3.36 increase per month for two years for the owner of a home with an assessed value of $300,000.

How can I vote?

Voters within Bellingham Public Schools’ attendance area will receive a ballot in the mail in October 2016 to vote on a school bus levy. Ballots must be mailed and postmarked or returned to the drop-box at the Whatcom County Courthouse South Parking Lot, 201 Grand Ave. by Nov. 8, 2016.

Watch our explanatory video: School Bus Levy Facts