Bond 2023 FAQs

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Fife High School Bond FAQs

What is a bond and how is it different from a levy?

“Bonds are for building - levies are for learning”

The state provides minimal funding for school construction and building maintenance. Bonds are used for new school construction, renovation of buildings, and land purchases.  They’re also used for major repairs and improvements such as new roofs, heating and cooling systems, and safety improvements to our schools.  Bonds are voter approved debt and allow the district to make a major investment upfront.  Money from local property taxes would be used to pay back the debt over time.

Can bond funds be used for anything other than construction and building upgrades?

No. Money from bond measures is placed in the district’s capital projects fund.  Per state law, money from this fund cannot be transferred to other funds or used for unrelated purposes like salaries or other operational costs.

How was it decided to focus the proposed bond on Fife High School?

In 2017, our Capital Facilities Advisory Committee (CFAC) worked for over 6 months to assess all of our building needs. That committee determined the priorities that were all addressed with the 2018 bond.  The CFAC specifically chose to make the FHS project the focus of the next bond.

  • The buildings are 90 years old and it has been 30 years since a major renovation.
  • Learning spaces are not adaptable to updated learning standards and prevent students from accessing the kinds of classes that provide them with skills to be successful after graduation.
  • Most of the major systems are nearing the end of their functional life.
  • Many of the spaces are too small and not properly equipped for their program.
  • The kitchen is too small to adequately prepare lunches for the size of the student body.
  • Students must use outdoor walkways between classes (as the only option) which presents a safety concern.
  • The campus is not fully ADA compliant, preventing access to some students and staff.
  • The campus lacks social gathering spaces for students and student clubs.

How will the proposed bond’s dollars be used?

Replace Fife High School with a comprehensive, modern high school, supporting up to 1300 students, including new indoor and outdoor athletic facilities and up to date safety and security measures.

  • Enhance student and staff safety through updated safety and accessibility features.
  • A new building would allow for a single, secure entrance with interior walkways for students.
  • Add capacity to support student learning allowing the high school to expand the classes offered that provide students with skills and experience.
  • Common spaces, like lunchrooms and restrooms, that are usable during peak times.
  • HVAC and infrastructure systems that are cost efficient to operate and require less maintenance.

How much will I pay for the bond?
The increase is estimated at $16.75 per month for a home assessed at $300,000.

Fife Public Schools Bonds Year Bond amount/$1000
Current 2023 $2.33
Projected 2024 $2.99
Difference $.67

What about the other taxes I pay for schools?

In short, our EP&O Levy is estimated to remain the same, and our Technology Levy may increase by 1 cent.

Year Educational Programs & Operations Levy Technology Levy Bonds Total
Current 2023 $1.66 $0.31 $2.33 $4.30
Projected 2024 $1.66 $0.32 $2.99 $4.97
Difference $0.67

The information above shows the estimated 2024 tax rates compared to the 2023 rates that includes the current EP&O Levy, Technology Levy, and proposed new bond. The increase is estimated at 67 cents per $1,000 of assessed value.

What does the increase of 67 cents per $1,000 mean?

Property taxes are estimated at rates per $1,000 of assessed value. This means in 2024, the owner of a home assessed at $300,000 is estimated to pay $16.75 more per month for the new bond.

This rate could decrease if assessed property values rise or as more properties are built in the area. 

When was the last time Fife Schools ran a bond?

The last time we ran a bond was 2018. This bond replaced Surprise Lake Middle School, added Fife Elementary School, added the STEAM Center at FHS, added new baseball/fastpitch fields at FHS, provided safety infrastructure at Discovery, Hedden, CJH, and FHS, addressed HVAC/Roof/Painting at Discovery, Hedden, CJH, remodeled Endeavour Intermediate School to become our new Central Office. In addition, our successful fiscal management of the 2018 bond program has allowed us to add an Early Learning Center for our communities’ 3-5 year old learners.

What does it take to pass a bond?  Is it similar to a levy?

Bonds require a 60% supermajority approval to pass, while levies require a simple majority of 50% + 1.

Am I eligible for an exemption from bond measure property taxes?

Under certain conditions, people with disabilities or citizens 61 years of age or older are eligible for a tax exemption.  Consideration is given to income, ownership of taxable residence and other factors. For more information and to apply for an exemption, contact your county assessor’s office, or click here:  King County  Pierce County

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