District holding informational meetings prior to February Seattle school levy renewal votes

Seattle Public Schools is holding public meetings to discuss two levies on the ballot in February’s special election. Thursday night brings the session closest to Capitol Hill at Montlake Elementary:

Seattle Public Schools (SPS) will host three community meetings in January to provide information and answer questions about two levies that Seattle voters will consider in a special
election on Feb. 12, 2019. The two levies are the Educational Programs and Operations Levy (EP&O) and the Building Excellence V Capital Levy (BEX V). If approved, the two levies will replace two expiring levies that voters previously approved in 2013 and 2016.

COMMUNITY MEETINGS

SPS staff members will present detailed information and be available for questions at each of
the three Seattle meetings.

All meetings: 7-8:00 p.m.

• Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019: John Rogers Elementary School cafeteria, 4030 NE 109th St.
• Thursday, Jan.10, 2019: Montlake Elementary School gymnasium, 2409 22nd Ave. East
• Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019: Rainier Beach High School cafeteria, 8815 Seward Pk. Ave. South

A document outlining the levies from SPS is below. The levies are needed to replace two levies previously passed by voters but set to expire. The first is renewal of the Educational Programs and Operations (EP&O) Levy and the second renews the Building Excellence V (BEX V) Capital Levy.

The district reminds that the levies are not a new tax:

Currently, homeowners pay $1.10 per $1,000 of assessed home value (2018) for the EP&O. If approved, the levy rate would drop to $1.05. The capital levy rate of $.90 per $1,000 is the same rate as requested for BEX IV, which started in 2014.

The levy votes are likely to continue Seattle’s trend of approving taxes for the district. A different sort of school levy in 2018 that boosted City of Seattle programs for preschool and community college students also passed.

UPDATE: Chris Reykdal, the Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction, says even with an overhaul of state funding for schools, local levies including Seattle’s are still necessary. “Seattle Public Schools is asking for additional authority from voters because the Legislature significantly cut its local levy,” he writes. “Seattle will lose nearly $100 million in voter-approved school levies under the Legislature’s levy swap. This is too much! The Legislature has made important progress in amply funding our basic-education program, but it was under no court order to cut local voter-approved levies.”

Reykdal says February’s votes will put Seattle Schools in the best position for funding its needs after legislative adjustments to the state’s levy policies. “I have put forward a levy model to the Legislature that is simpler to understand and will give school districts across the state a more appropriate levy authority — all subject to voter approval, of course. If the Legislature makes these important adjustments, Seattle will be authorized to collect additional future enrichment dollars following a successful February levy vote,” he writes.

 

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6 thoughts on “District holding informational meetings prior to February Seattle school levy renewal votes

    • The state now fully funds education.

      *Citation needed*

      Your comment is directly refuted by a quote from the Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction in the article summary.

      But why read and better yourself when you can post moronic comments instead?

      ¯#&92;_(ツ)_/¯

  1. These local levies were supposed to decline once the State increased funding for public education. That was the legislature’s expectation. McCleary was intended to address inadequate State funding AND unequal local funding caused by large local levies assessed in wealthier districts. The concerns were that the State wasn’t meeting it’s constitutional obligations to fully fund public education, and students in poorer districts were receiving a lesser education due to their localities inability to assess adequate levies to make up for the missing State dollars. By fully funding education, the State would remove the need for large local levies and all students would benefit from similar education funding levels.

    Now that the time has come to lower the local levies, districts such as Seattle are refusing to do so (what a surprise). So, Seattle taxpayers get shafted by the final form of McCleary funding, which dramatically shifted statewide funding costs to urban Puget Sound areas, and the school district, which insists on offering pre-McCleary level levies. The result of McCleary was a 20% property tax increase last year, and this year’s levies will offer no relief.

    • It’s a slap in the face to taxpayers, who already have paid significantly increased property taxes to “fully fund” public education. But it’s no surprise…..government and school entities NEVER lower taxes. They treat property owners like ATM machines.

      I’m voting no, but unfortunately the levy will probably pass, because Seattle voters (in knee-jerk fashion) always pass school levies, without even a passing thought.

  2. The Seattle Times editorialized on this subject today. I guess we aren’t all that concerned about equity in public education anymore. Oh well, as long as the teachers got their’s….

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