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.
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.
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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