Bond FAQ


What is a school bond?

The State of Washington does not fund the regular building or maintenance of public schools.  Instead, local voters must approve school bonds for this purpose.  Sate law mandates that bond dollars be used only for buildings and maintenance, not classroom operations or salaries.

Per OSPI’s website, please note the following: “School districts are responsible to secure local funding for construction projects. If eligible, the State provides partial funding based on formulas, allowances, and the costs related to certain aspects of a construction project called ‘recognized project costs’.”

Further detail regarding State funding vs. local funding can be found in the School Facilities Manual (link provided below).


Section 203: Eligibility for State Funding - Local Funding Sources
Local funding sources will be required to receive state funding assistance. Sources of local funding may include voter approved capital levies and bonds, impact fees, mitigation payments, interest income from the capital project fund, transfers from the district’s general fund (with OSPI approval).


As noted above, a significant portion of this Bond measure does not qualify for any state funds.


Section 207 addresses costs to be financed entirely with local funds.




Section 207–Costs to be Financed Entirely with Local Funds
Local funds must be used for the following items as they are not eligible for state funding
assistance per WAC 392-343-120:

1. Area in excess of the space allocations in WAC 392-343-035.

2. Acquisition cost of the site.

3. Maintenance and operation.

4. Alterations, repairs, and demolitions (except alterations necessary to connect new construction to an existing building).

5. Central administration buildings.

6. Stadia/grandstands.

7. Costs incidental to advertising for bids, site surveys, soil testing for site purchase, and costs other than those connected directly with construction of facilities.

8. Bus garages, except interdistrict cooperatives.

9. Sales and/or use taxes levied by local governments other than those sales

and/or use taxes generally levied throughout the State.

10. All costs in excess of state support level factors established by OSPI.

11. All costs associated with the purchase, installation, and relocation of portable classrooms.

To read the School Facilities Manual, in total, please click below:

What is the difference between a bond and a levy?

Bonds are for building and levies are for learning. Bonds are for building and other capital investments like land or equipment.  Levies are used for day-to-day school expenditures not covered by the state, levies cannot be used for facilities or capital investments.


The phrase “Bonds are for building; levies are for learning” is concise, uniform language, and a common theme used universally across many districts in our state to generally convey how the funds are used. The phrase is borne from a basic understanding of how to explain the overall differences between bonds and levies.


In the OSPI “School District Property Tax Levies" pamphlet, it states that with EP&O (Educational Programs & Operations) levies, levy lids limit the size of projects school districts can fund through the levy process. A maximum levy lid caps what school districts can ask taxpayers to pay. The EP&O Levy is used for day-to-day operations of the school. Such levies used to be known as “maintenance and operation” (M&O) levies. These levies do not allow funds to be used for capital facilities projects or capital investments.  

Districts are allowed to run supplemental levies such as Technology and Capital Projects Levies, which are used to fund technology purchases as well as capital projects. These supplemental levies are limited to a maximum of six years.  This limits the amount we can ask for, due to the tolerance of what voters can support based on assessed valuation.

If passed, when will these projects be completed?

  • New Elementary School: Anticipated completion in 2023.

  • Safety and Security: Anticipated completion in 2022.

  • Cedarcrest High School Expansion (including commons, kitchen, Career & Technical Education): Anticipated completion in 2023.

  • Tolt Middle School Expansion (including commons, kitchen, athletic room updates and science upgrades): Anticipated completion in 2023.

  • District-Wide Maintenance and Facility Upgrades at every school: Anticipated completion in 2022-2023.

What is the historical community support for recent levy and bond measures?

The Riverview School District has passed all historical bond and levy measures since 2001.

How often does the school district run a bond?

The last time the Riverview School District ran a bond was 13 years ago (2007), and based on the district's 20 year capital projects plan, we would run anticipate running another bond in approximately 15-20 years. 

How will this impact my tax rate?

  • Estimated tax rate in 2020 without a bond is $3.28

  • Estimated tax rate in 2020 with a bond is $4.37

  • $4.37 - $3.28 = $1.09 assessed valuation

How does the tax rate for this bond compare to historical tax rates for bonds in the past?

Please visit the Financial page.

2020 Bond Presentation