What you need to know about Seattle school taxes

The ballots were mailed out for the Feb. 12 special election in King County, and it’s time to find out a little more about those school levies you thought you never heard of.

Why are there two school deductions on my ballot?

City voters will decide on two separate levies for the Seattle school board: Proposition 1, which would renew an operating levy that voters last approved in 2016, and Proposition 2, which would renew a levy for students. capital expenditure.

For many years, the state did not fund as much as local school districts needed. The school board therefore asked voters to approve an operating tax every three years to address this funding gap.

Proposal 1: This would approve a property tax – $ 1.05 for every $ 1,000 of assessed value in 2020 – that would go towards additional services the Seattle school board offers not covered by the state.

The three-year operating tax would raise $ 271.3 million next year, $ 271.7 million in 2021 and $ 272 million in 2022, also the year voters will have to re-approve the election. tax.

Proposition 2: This six-year levy would approve another property tax – $ 0.90 for every $ 1,000 of assessed value in 2020 – and raise $ 1.4 billion in total, or $ 233.3 million per year for capital projects.

But I just supported an education tax in Seattle. How are these two different?

Voters in the November general election backed a measure combining two municipal education taxes intended to help close the educational achievement gap, with additional access to preschool education and early learning for households in low income and other community programs. He also added Mayor Jenny Durkan’s goal of offering two years of free tuition to public high school graduate students.

The two levies on the February ballot would go directly to the Seattle school board, not the city, and cover ongoing non-state funded operational and capital costs.

Some opposed the city tax in November because they feared it would create more tax fatigue for voters, knowing they would face two more education taxes in February.

Where exactly is the money going?

On the one hand, the Seattle school board needs funding for its special education students. Funding from Proposal 1 would help with this.

Proposal 2 would fund improvements to dozens of schools, including construction or safety projects at 16 schools, many of which are overcrowded and in need of upgrades or renovations in the event of an earthquake. (Check out this useful Seattle weather item for more details.)

What exactly did McCleary do?

The McCleary decision was a mandate from the state Supreme Court to have Washington fund “basic education.” However, it does not cover most of the costs that local school districts face.

Updated at 10:59 a.m. on February 5, 2019 to clarify funding for Proposal 2 beyond construction, safety and renovation projects in 16 schools.

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