On February 13th 2018, sixteen school districts in King County are asking voters to approve levies in a special election to fund schools. The majority of these are replacement levies, designed to succeed a current levy due to expire, and a handful of the districts are including a 1-year school bus levy to bring new busses to their fleets. Because this marks the first election since the McCleary ruling on educational funding, which has left many voters asking why Washington’s schools are in need of additional funding in the first place.
The onus in Washington state is to fund basic education. In King County, however, there is a difference between what is expected from any given school district and what is provided by the new state budget. Think of basic education as a starter home: a residence maybe built a few decades ago offering somewhere around 1,200 square feet with 3 bedrooms and 1 bath. Yes, the home will fulfill the most basic of needs, but it doesn’t provide the dream features that elevate living, such as a master bath, den or fenced yard.
In the school system, moving beyond the “starter home” means providing additional opportunities for children such as a seventh period, an extra nurse, arts programs, tutors, etc. For example, in the Bellevue School District, basic education allows for 4 nurses to be hired to cover 28 schools and over 20,000 students. Clearly, that is not enough; and that is where the levies come in.
Growth in the Seattle area could also potentially mean to adding additional schools, which voters will see on the ballot when Seattle School District proposes new levies in 2019. As King 5 News reported over the summer, the Downtown Seattle Association and city of Seattle are currently reviewing a proposal to build another high school near Memorial Stadium. As the article reports, recent data shows that enrollment in Seattle Public Schools has increased 73% in the last decade, with greater growth in Denny Triangle, South Lake Union, Belltown, and Uptown.
Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty is proud to support our communities and the schools within them. Please join us in supporting the levies. We will continue to share updates regarding school district levies and Seattle schools as it becomes available.