• Voters to decide on two Seattle Public Schools levies

    Updated:

    Seattle voters are being asked to pay more, as Seattle Public Schools tries to renew two of its levies next week.

    The dollar amounts on the Feb. 9 ballot is a higher amount than previous approved rates, because the district said its enrollment has increased by nearly 8 percent over the last five years.

    At the same time, class size reduction, expansion to all-day kindergarten, and cost of living and pension costs drive up the amount needed.
    One of the levies calls for the re-opening of three elementary schools: Magnolia Elementary, Webster Elementary, and E.C. Hughes Elementary.

    It also marks funding for additional space at Ingraham High School.


    With all school levies added together, Seattle Public Schools estimates that a homeowner with a $450,000 house would see an additional $140 per year, over the next three years.

    Even with the increased ask, the Seattle district still has one of the lowest tax rates of any King County school district.

    King County school district tax rates in 2016

    The following numbers represent the dollars taxed per $1,000 of assessed home value.

     
    Federal Way
    6.75
    Tahoma 6.17
    Auburn 5.83
    Renton 5.35
    Kent 5.34
    Tukwila 5.23
    Highline 5.16
    Snoqualmie Valley 5.02
    Enumclaw 4.84
    Riverview 4.33
    Shoreline 4.29
    Fife 4.27
    Northshore 4.22
    Issaquah 4.1
    Vashon 3.66
    Bellevue 3.14
    Lake Washington 3.11
    Mercer Island 2.48
    Seattle 2.19
    Skykomish 1.86

     
    Seattle Proposition 1

    This renews the district’s Operations Levy, which provides 25 percent of the total operations cost. The last renewal came in 2013, for $551.9 million over three years. This time, voters are being asked to approve $758.3 million over three years.

    This levy typically pays for a portion of teacher, instructional assistant and support staff salaries, various bilingual and special education services, purchase of textbooks, classroom supplies, building security, transportation, and student activities such as athletics, music, drama and art outside the regular school day.

    While there is no breakdown for the proposed $758.3 million, this is how the previous $551.9 million was spent:

    •          Teaching Activities:
    •    Teaching………………….$470.6 million
    •    Extracurricular……………..$4.1 million
    •          Teaching Support:
    •    Principals…………………………………..$46.3 million
    •    Learning resources………………………$7.8 million
    •    Guidance and Counseling…….......$18.7 million
    •    Student safety…………………………...……$5 million
    •    Student Health/related services.…$26.5 million
    •    Instructional professional devel…..$13.3 million
    •          Other Support Activities:
    •    Child nutrition……………………………….$14 million
    •    Student Transportation………………….$31 million
    •    Grounds Maintenance………………………$2 million
    •    School building operations………………$22 million
    •    Security…………………………………………….$2 million
    •    Technology (not including capital)……$12 million
    •          Central Administration……………………………….$43.6 million

     
    Seattle Proposition 2

    This is a capital levy, called the Buildings, Technology and Academics/Athletics IV (BTA IV.) It started in 1998 and has been renewed multiple times since then.

    The renewal on the 2016 ballot asks for $475.3 million over six years. Voters approved a renewal in 2010 for $270 million.

    Most of the money in the BTA IV proposal goes toward buildings. That includes money to re-open E.C. Hughes, Magnolia, and Webster elementary schools, and to build an addition to Ingraham High School. In total, this adds 2,000 seats.

    In total, the district plans to re-open five schools. The two not listed within this levy are Lincoln High School and T.T. Minor, which will be re-opened this fall as the Seattle World School.

    $15 million of this BTA IV also allows for the purchase of more space to fit the growing student population. Nearly all Seattle high schools are currently at or over capacity.

    The following is how the district would like to spend the $475.3 million:  

    Buildings improvements: $335.4 million

    • Renovate and open 3 schools, add capacity at a 4th
    • Earthquake safety
    • Fire suppression/sprinklers
    • Fire alarm improvements
    • Security cameras
    • Door and window alarms
    • Intercom system replacements
    • Roof replacements
    • Exterior renovations
    • HVAC
    • Electrical
    • Plumbing
    • Routine replacement of equipment for food service, lunchrooms, grounds, security
    • Property acquisitions
    • Major preventative maintenance
    • Capital eligible loan repayment
    • Capital and Technology Financing Obligations Principal Payments

    Technology improvements: $104.7 million

    • Tech equipment in classrooms
    • AV equipment
    • Security systems – cameras, door access, communication services
    • IT security and privacy
    • Improving business systems that do payroll, budgeting, HR, health, nutrition, etc.
    • Improve website and tech tools for outreach to parents and community

    Academics/Athletics improvements: $35.2 million

    • Building modifications to do better for special ed
    • Add science and computer labs at high schools
    • Licenses for student assessment systems
    • Changes to buildings and portables
    • Athletic fields and exterior lights

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