A guest post by Suzanne Dale Estey
Magnolia Mom and member of the Schools First campaign
If you are registered to vote, you should have received your ballot in the mail for the renewal of two property-tax levies. Given an upsurge of enrollment in Seattle schools, these levies are more important than ever in providing the basic services and facilities our children need.
These levies, if passed, would have a significant impact on Seattle public schools as they would provide funding for school renovations and expansions. They would also provide for earthquake safety improvements for 37 schools.
Ballots are due Tuesday, February 12. Here are additional details about the levies:
- The Operations Levy will provide funding for about 27 percent of Seattle Public School’s operating budget. This levy funds everything from teacher and principal salaries to a 6-period high school day and school libraries. If renewed, the Operations Levy will direct $552 million to our public schools over three years.
- The Capital Levy will provide $695 million over six years to fund earthquake retrofits, renovations and school building expansions in response to increased enrollment. At a time when many of the nation’s big city school districts are shrinking, Seattle’s public school student enrollment is rapidly growing. 1,400 additional students enrolled this year alone, with 7,000 more expected in the next decade in our already overcrowded schools. All schools are slated to receive technology upgrades in every school that include wireless internet access and improve accounting systems.
Failure to renew our school levies would be devastating to Seattle’s students and schools. Teachers and instructional aides would be laid-off, class size would increase and critical programs would be cut.
Both propositions are renewals of existing levies. If approved, these levies would cost the owner of a $400,000 home $13 a month over what the homeowner pays on the expiring levies.
For a map of the schools affected, click here.