Ballots are due by Tuesday night for the February special election vote on two Seattle Public Schools levies.
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.
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Chris Reykdal, the Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction, has said 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.”
The levy votes are likely to continue Seattle’s trend of approving taxes for the district but ice over turnout could be a factor. A different sort of school levy in 2018 that boosted City of Seattle programs for preschool and community college students also passed.
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