How Wednesday’s BEX IV levy comment session will work

For everyone with something to say about the Seattle Public Schools BEX IV levy before the project list is finalized at the School Board’s November 7th meeting – this Wednesday’s public-comment session may be pivotal. We contacted the district today to ask exactly how it’ll work, in case you’re thinking about attending and/or speaking. From district spokesperson Tom Redman:

The BEX IV Capital Levy public comment session (not a public hearing) will be held from 4:00-5:00 pm on Wednesday, October 24th in the John Stanford Center auditorium.

Those who wish to speak may sign up at the meeting: a sign-up sheet will be located on a table just inside the auditorium.

Each speaker has up to two minutes to provide his/her comments to the Board.

The Board is taking comments from 4:00-5:00 pm.

The Board will not be responding to comments provided.

At last week’s board meeting (WSB coverage here), School Board president Michael DeBell had said he expected at least 20 speakers to have a chance. In the meantime, is the address you can use to e-mail comments on the plan, which currently includes, for West Seattle, an expanded/renovated Fairmount Park Elementary to reopen in 2014, rebuilt Schmitz Park Elementary to open in 2015 at the current (closed) Genesee Hill school site, and a rebuilt Arbor Heights Elementary to open in 2018 – a date that local public-school advocates want to see moved up.

3 Replies to "How Wednesday's BEX IV levy comment session will work"

  • Rod Clark October 22, 2012 (3:20 pm)

    The “comment session” isn’t only about the capital levy. It’s also about the operations levy, likely in response to this WA State law.

    “A taxing district, other than the state, that collects regular levies shall hold a public hearing on revenue sources for the district’s following year’s current expense budget. The hearing must include consideration of possible increases in property tax revenues and shall be held prior to the time the taxing district levies the taxes or makes the request to have the taxes levied. The county legislative authority, or the taxing district’s governing body if the district is a city, town, or other type of district, shall hold the hearing. For purposes of this section, “current expense budget” means that budget which is primarily funded by taxes and charges and reflects the provision of ongoing services. It does not mean the capital, enterprise, or special assessment budgets of cities, towns, counties, or special purpose districts.” (etc.)

    This would seem to say that the School Board is required to hold a public hearing on the regular operating levy. It doesn’t appear to require a public hearing for the BEX capital levy, though. But they’ve tacked on a “comment session” about the capital levy.

    So, as the gentleman from the Communications Department notes, it’s not a public hearing, except that it is.

    • WSB October 22, 2012 (3:22 pm)

      Yes, sorry, I knew it was about the other levy too but that has not generated much controversy (or coverage for that matter, I for one plead guilty), so we took the shorthand.

  • wondering October 24, 2012 (8:09 am)

    maybe it’s my skeptical nature, but I bet there’s two versions since it’s being announced the day after elections. One if the charter passes, one if it doesn’t.

Sorry, comment time is over.