Where does the money come from?

  • The Mukilteo School District gets its operating revenue from three main sources: the State of Washington, the taxes paid by local property owners, and the federal government.

    According to the 2016-17 operating budget, the school district expects to get a total of more than $190 million in revenue. For every $100 that the school district expects to get, $67.52 will come from the State of Washington, $22.46 will come from local property taxes, and $8.52 will come from the federal government. Here’s a link where you can get more detail about the revenue included in the school’s district 2016-17 General Fund budget.

    Let’s look at the three primary sources of income in greater detail:


    Almost two-thirds of the school district’s revenue comes from the State of Washington because Article IX of the State Constitution says that it “is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders ...” This means that the state must provide funding for basic education. Consequently, each school district in the state receives an amount of money from the state (called an apportionment) that is based on the number of students it has enrolled in its classrooms. During the 2016-17 school year, the Mukilteo School District expects to receive about $98.1 million through this apportionment. The state also provides money for programs such as special education, bilingual education and student transportation.

    In January 2012, the Washington State Supreme Court issued a ruling that said the state was not meeting its constitutional obligation to provide ample funding for public education. The court said that by 2018, the state must fully fund a bill passed by the legislature in 2009 (ESHB 2261) that redefined basic education and a bill passed in 2010 (SHB 2776) that established funding formulas for K-12 education. To meet the court’s order, called the McCleary Ruling, the state legislature is now faced with the challenge of increasing funding for schools. Here is a link to a website that provides more information about the McCleary Ruling.

    Local taxes:

    School districts offer many programs and activities that are not funded by the state. The state doesn’t pay for sports and other extracurricular activities, for example. Instead, those programs are typically funded by a levy on local property taxes that is approved by local voters.

    In Mukilteo, voters approved an Educational Maintenance and Operations Levy in February 2014 that will expire on December 31, 2018. That levy will provide the school district with a total of about $42.7 million during the 2016-17 school year, or more than 22 percent of the school district’s total income. The money from the levy is used to pay for extra teachers to reduce class size, money to provide competitive salaries to teachers (called TRI pay) and other staff members, sports and instrumental music programs, student transportation, teacher training, student activities, teaching assistants and services for special-needs students.

    For more information, see our special section about levies, bonds and property taxes. For an explanation about how tax rates work, go to our page about tax rates.

    The Northwest Educational Service District 189 has produced a short video that also helps explain the relationship between property values and tax rates. You can watch that video HERE.

    Federal government:

    The federal government provides some funding for programs that help special education students, disadvantaged students and students who are learning to speak  English, as well as provide subsidies for food services. The Mukilteo School District’s operating budget for the 2016-17 school year includes about $16.2 million from the federal government, or about 8 percent of the total revenue.