3 Bond and Levy Tips Every School District Can Use Right Now

Author: Tyler Vick Published: February 26, 2018

At some point during the year, most school districts will fall into one of these three areas:

  1. Thinking about planning a bond or levy measure
  2. Attempting to pass a bond or levy
  3. Trying make the most of the bond or levy they just passed

No matter which category a district finds itself in, the end goals are the same: alleviate overcrowded classrooms, get facilities sited in the best possible location, and, if new facilities are being built, make sure attendance area boundaries are redrawn to accommodate community values while balancing school capacities.

Easier said than done. As we’ve heard from most school districts we work with, reaching that end goal isn’t always easy. That’s why we put together these three bond and levy tips that every school district can use right now.

Questions about any of the bond and levy tips we’ve shared? Send us a message.

Tip 1: Enrollment Forecasting

If you’re planning a bond or levy, make sure your long-term facilities plan is updated with accurate and defensible enrollment projections based on a diverse set of data that includes student enrollment projections, and community development and demographic information. Instead of relying on the standard, district-wide enrollment data, incorporate projections that tell you where in your district students are projected to live, allowing you to make informed decisions about your future student population.

(BONUS!) Obtaining accurate future enrollment data and understanding how the data relates to your school district’s current capability to accommodate the student population will set you up for success when helping the public understand why they should pass your bond or levy. They’ll clearly see the future potential for growth and the justifiable need for new schools.

Tip 2: School Siting

If you’ve recently passed a bond or levy and need to site new schools, don’t decide where to build until you consider:

  • Your community’s values, like walkability and proximity to public transportation
  • Where your future student population is likely to reside
  • Parcel size and location requirements
  • Environmental constraints
  • Your community’s zoning regulations

Tip 3: Boundary Adjustments

Once you’ve picked the best site for your new schools, start getting ready for a school attendance area boundary review. Boundary reviews are often contentious and stressful for the district and the community, so the more thoughtful planning a district can do prior to beginning the review process, the better. Try reaching out to other districts to ask how they have handled the review process for best practices. What can they tell you about tough issues they ran into and how they resolved them?

After that, check out our downloadable step-by-step guide to updating attendance area boundaries here. It’s a proven process we’ve used to successfully guide school districts through updating boundaries.


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Tyler Vick

Managing Director

(503) 501-5232

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