School bond and tax elections in Washington

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School bond and tax elections in Washington happen under one circumstance:

Laws affecting school finance

Washington bond issue

Under Washington state law, all school districts must seek approval from the Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction as part of the process of getting a bond issue approved. Also, no bond issue may exceed three-eights of one percent of the district's total valuation of taxable property without voter approval. The three-eights percent limit is uniform for all taxing districts in Washington State[1].

School districts in Washington State can issue bonds for:

  • Funding outstanding indebtedness or bonds already issued.
  • For the purchase of buildings, playgrounds, physical education/athletic facilities and structures authorized by Washington law or necessary to carry out the functions of a school district
  • Erecting all new and expanded buildings, playgrounds, physical education/athletic facilities and structures, and providing the necessary furniture, apparatus, or equipment.
  • Improving the energy efficiency of school district buildings and/or installing systems and components to utilize renewable and/or inexhaustible energy resources.
  • Major and minor structural changes and structural additions to buildings, structures, facilities and sites.
  • A installment purchase contract for school plant facilities or financing a term of which is ten years or longer that contains an option by the school district to purchase the leased property for nominal consideration, but only to the extent such payment constitutes a capital expenditure
  • For other capital purposes permitted by law[2].

Washington levy limit

The Washington Constitution in Article VII, Section 6 limits any taxing entity including school districts to only up to one and half percent of the value of property. Any school district that seeks to exceed the cap must seek approval from the voters in order to exceed the one percent cap[3].

School districts can also be indebted up to five percent for the purpose of capital outlays without voter approval[4].

Washington state is different from other states as they express a state debt limit in percentage form over a millage rate.

Conduct of the bond election, limitations, rules

Authority conducting elections

The respective County Auditor is responsible for running school bond and levy elections[5].

Needed majority

A three-fifths super-majority vote is needed to pass a election involving the constitutionally protected debt limit or a bond issue exceeding three-eights percent[6] [7].

External links

References

  1. [http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=39.36.020 "Washington Legislature" Washington School Bond Law(Referenced Section 39.36.020 Revised Code of Washington)
  2. "Washington Legislature" Washington Bond Issue Law(Referenced Section 28A.530.010)
  3. "Washington Legislature" Washington Constitution(Referenced Section Article VII, Section 6)
  4. "Washington Legislature" Washington Constitution(Referenced Section Article VII, Section 6)
  5. [http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=29A.04.025 "Washington Legislature" Washington School Bond Law(Referenced Section 29A.04.025 Revised Code of Washington)
  6. [http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=39.36.020 "Washington Legislature" Washington School Bond Law(Referenced Section 39.36.020 (3) Revised Code of Washington)
  7. "Washington Legislature" Washington Constitution(Referenced Section Article VII, Section 6)