Bethel's Educational Programs and Operations Levy and the Technology Levy have both been officially endorsed by:
- 2nd Legislative District (Democrats)
- Bethel Area Council (PTAs)
- Bethel Education Association (Teachers’ Union)
- Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland
- Fredrickson Business Association
- Graham Business Association
- Public School Employees (Classified Union)
- Rotary Club of Parkland-Spanaway
- South Pierce County Kiwanis Club
- Spanaway Lions Club
- Tacoma Pierce County Realtors
- United Way of Pierce County
ELECTION DAY IS APRIL 26!
In the wake of our double levy failure in February, the School Board has authorized both levy renewals to rerun in the April 26th Special Election. This is the last election available before the end of the school year and will allow us to plan accordingly for the 2022-23 budget.
If the levy renewals fail again, the district will have to cut $30 million from its budget for this fall, and an additional $20 million in 2023.
98% of the Educational Programs and Operations Levy goes toward staffing, which means hundreds of jobs could be cut if the levy fails.
The importance of these measures cannot be understated. If the levy renewals fail again, the following areas will be directly impacted:
All athletics and activities for students would be cut, including clubs, concerts, dances, performances, plays, and sports.
Elementary Schools (Reductions)
- Teachers (reductions would result in larger class sizes)
- Classified support
- School administrators
Elementary band and orchestra would be eliminated.
Middle and High Schools (Reductions)
- Teachers (reductions would result in class sizes of 33-34 kids per class)
- Library staff
- Counseling / social worker services
- Classified support staff
- School administrators
Smaller classes would be eliminated. Examples include intervention classes at middle schools and small-sized AP classes.
Safety and Security (Reductions)
- Campus safety positions
- The district currently employs five Pierce County Deputies as SROs. We would reduce that number to only two or three.
One scenario the School Board discussed was:
- Elementary students living within a half mile of their schools would have to walk.
- Secondary students living within one mile of their schools would have to walk.
Other Programs (Reductions)
- District Administration
- Community outreach
- Highly Capable programs
- Multilingual education
- Computers/iPads for students and staff
- Network and infrastructure districtwide
School districts can only put levies before the voters twice per calendar year. If the levy renewals fail again in April, they won’t be able to be voted on again until February 2023, making layoffs inevitable.
Please note: Both of these levies are renewals. They are NOT new taxes.
Educational Programs and Operations Levy
Chief Financial Officer Bryan Verley did a fantastic job of explaining the levies and what they fund at a recent School Board meeting.
“We spend more than the state gives us because it’s really a minimal amount that the state gives us. It’s a bare bones model,” Verley said. “(The levy) allows us to have smaller classes. It allows us to have safer schools, cleaner schools, and offer many more programs than if we only got the state's basic education funding.”
Click on the image below to watch Verley’s entire presentation to the Board.
The estimated property tax rates per $1,000 assessed valuation for the Educational Programs and Operations Levy are:
$2.17 in 2023
$2.17 in 2024
$2.17 in 2025
$2.17 in 2026
When Bethel voters first approved a Technology Levy seven years ago to give every student in the district access to a personal iPad, they weren’t thinking about a global pandemic that would one day force us out of classrooms and into a new world of distance learning.
The levy was meant to help prepare Bethel students for the future by putting them into technology-rich classrooms and giving them the most advanced educational tools available. The 1:1 iPad program has succeeded in all the ways our voters had hoped it would, but it has also succeeded in ways no one could have imagined.
Because our students were already comfortable using their iPads — and because our teachers had already received years of professional development training with the tablets — our district had a distinct advantage when COVID-19 forced school closures throughout the country.
While other districts struggled to find devices for all of their students, Bethel students were able to seamlessly move to distance learning with the same iPads they had used all year. The 1:1 program allowed our students and teachers to focus on the curriculum rather than learning how to use a new device.
Using the iPads in classrooms has improved our students’ technological literacy, enhanced their creativity, and leveled the playing field for children of all socioeconomic backgrounds. The devices haven’t replaced teachers by a long shot, but they have been an incredibly useful tool in our teachers’ toolboxes.
We rightfully praise the resilience of our students and tenacity of our teachers during these tough times, but we must also thank our voters for their foresight, their generosity, and their continued contribution to the students of Bethel.
The estimated property tax rates per $1,000 assessed valuation for the Technology Levy are:
$0.31 in 2023
$0.31 in 2024
$0.31 in 2025
$0.31 in 2026
STEAM Program at Katherine G. Johnson Elementary
This video captures the spirit of the STEAM program at Katherine G. Johnson Elementary School.
"I had to learn how to walk again"
Director Terrance M. Mayers Sr. recounts a harrowing tale from his childhood and discusses the importance of levy-funded transportation for our district. Our school district covers 202 square miles of Pierce County. Because only 9% of our roads have sidewalks, we use levy dollars to enrich our transportation for students, allowing us to transport more students to school beyond what the state funds. A levy loss in April could result in some students not having bus transportation as early as this fall.
Meet Bethel's Title/LAP Team!
Bethel's Title/LAP Team talks about how they support students and staff in this short video.
Faith Leaders Meeting: Levy 2022
Bethel community faith leaders met in person for the first time in two years to discuss the upcoming levy renewal election. During the meeting, they heard from student speakers and performers representing each of our comprehensive high schools.
Athletics are about so much more than the game being played. Through sports, our students learn valuable life lessons about teamwork, overcoming adversity, time management, and leadership. But did you know school athletics wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of our voters? Many of our district’s extracurricular activities, including sports, are funded through the Educational Programs & Operations Levy.
"It was the arts that saved my life"School Board Director Marcus Young Sr. speaks about the impact school choir had on his life and the importance of levy-funded music education in our schools.
Coding Dance Party
Student Centered Engaged Learning at Evergreen Elementary. Students at Evergreen learn coding!
A failed levy will mean less safety and security personnelSchool Board Director Brenda Rogers considers the safety and security implications of a levy failure in April (from 3-15-22 School Board Study Session)
Steam in Action with Stop Motion
Students at Katherine G Johnson Elementary create stop motion videos on their iPads.
School Board Study Session 3-15-22
Touch boards in Kindergarten at Katherine G. Johnson Elementary
KGJ’s Structure Program using the touch boards. This video shows students in Katherine G. Johnson Elementary's Structure program using the new touch board in their classroom. Teacher is Steven Hakansson.
Bethel Superintendent details staff reductions if levy renewals failSuperintendent Tom Seigel discusses proposed cuts to programs and staff if two levy renewals fail in the April 26 Special Election (from 3-8-22 School Board Meeting).
Levy Presentation (from 2-22-22 School Board Meeting)Bryan Verley, Chief Financial Officer, discusses what the Educational Programs and Operations Levy pays for, and what cuts would have to be made if voters reject it for the second time in April.
School Board Director speaks out about the renewal leviesSchool Board Director Roseanna Camacho speaks about the renewal levies (from 3-8-22 School Board meeting)
Choir Festival 2022
While COVID kept us from holding our annual Choral Festival at Pacific Lutheran University this year, it didn’t stop our amazing choir students from showcasing their talents. This year's festival was held last week at Graham-Kapowsin High School. All of our middle and high school choirs came together for a special day of singing and bonding with their fellow musicians.
Superintendent Seigel talks Levy funding (from 2-22-22 School Board Meeting)Superintendent Tom Seigel talks about what levy dollars fund.
Online and mail registrations must be received 8 days before Election Day. Residents can register to vote in-person up to and including on Election Day at the Pierce County Election Center, located at 2501 South 35th Street, Suite C, in Tacoma.April 8: Ballots are mailed out.April 18: Deadline to register to vote online and by mail.April 19 - 26: Register to Vote in person at Pierce County Annex (2401 S 35th St #200, Tacoma, WA 98409)April 26: Election Day ballots must be returned by 8pm.May 6: County Certification.
Pierce County has notified us that the only ballot boxes open for the April 26th election will be the following:
Graham Fire and Rescue
10012 187th St E
Puyallup, WA 98375
9202 224th St E
Graham, WA 98338
13718 Pacific Ave S
Tacoma, WA 98444
Pierce County Annex
2401 S 35th St #200
Tacoma, WA 98409
Roy Y Park and Ride
507 & Pacific Ave S
Spanaway, WA 98387
Roy City Hall
216 McNaught Rd S
Roy, WA 98580
South Hill Library
15420 Meridian Ave E
Puyallup, WA 98374
112th St E, Puyallup, WA 98372
More voter information about the February Election can be found on the Pierce County Elections website.