ELECTION RESULTS: Seattle Public Schools levies winning approval

8:14 PM: The one-and-only Election Night vote count is just in. Both Seattle Public Schools levies are passing with more than 70 percent approval:

OPERATIONS LEVY (PROP 1) – 71 percent approval

BTA LEVY (PROP 2) – 71 percent approval

As of tonight, fewer than 1 in 4 ballots had been returned, according to county statistics. Next vote count by 4:30 pm tomorrow.

9:15 PM: In its news release hailing the vote trend, the district included these bullet-point explanations of what the levies will pay for:

The Operations Levy represents more than 25 percent of Seattle Public Schools’ general fund operating budget and supports educational programs and services not fully funded by the state. It pays for;
· A portion of teacher, instructional assistant and support staff salaries

· Textbooks, classroom supplies, safety and building security,

· Special education and bilingual services,

· Professional development and training,

· Bus transportation,

· Student activities such as athletics, music, arts, extra-curricular and co-curricular activities.

The Buildings, Technology and Academics IV Capital Levy support the district’s long-range plans to;
· Upgrade and renovate aging school facilities and address enrollment growth.

· Three school buildings will be reopened to address capacity needs due to growing enrollment.

· Buildings projects including renovations, major maintenance, and health and safety improvements.

· Technology classroom equipment and instructional support to enhance student learning.

· Academics projects to meet the educational requirements and needs of students.

· Athletics improvements to upgrade fields.

Operations is a 3-year levy, BTA a 6-year levy. One of the “three school buildings (to) be reopened” is EC Hughes Elementary in Sunrise Heights, which the district has said will be the new home of the school that’s now at Roxhill Elementary.

38 Replies to "ELECTION RESULTS: Seattle Public Schools levies winning approval"

  • flimflam February 9, 2016 (8:34 pm)

    I never realized how much extra money I had until it all got voted away via property taxes! save me a sweet RV spot with a view.

  • 935 February 9, 2016 (8:47 pm)

    SURPRISE!!The Seattle Voter again shows ignorance – throwing (soon to be) bad money after really bad money.Surprise – didnt even bother to vote this time ’round….Didn’t want to waste the postage or the fuel to get to a ballot drop. Too much money is already wasted in this town…Glad I can afford the property tax increases

    • Jon Wright February 9, 2016 (9:13 pm)

      I’m ignorant because I voted for education? That seems incongruous.

      • WSB February 9, 2016 (9:15 pm)

        We’ve covered over the past several months what the money in these levies (both renewals, albeit at higher amounts than the previous cycle) goes toward. But for those who’ve forgotten or didn’t read previous stories, I’m adding the district summaries that just arrived. – TR

  • chemist February 9, 2016 (9:22 pm)

    There’s a part of me that thinks these levies would be more rare with a McCleary-compliant state funding model (or should be), but it’s kind of a “cut off your nose to spite your face” way to vote.

  • joel February 9, 2016 (9:28 pm)

    with the economy booming – full employment, crazy property prices resulting in more fees for the city/state, higher property taxes, increased retail sales resulting in higher revenue, an expanding population resulting in more taxes…..etc. – how does Seattle and the state not have a surplus rainy day fund?   they struggle to just make ends meet when the economy is booming.it would be like a normal citizen hitting a 10 million dollar lottery and not being able to pay next month’s light bill.

    • datamuse February 10, 2016 (7:27 am)

      The state’s rainy day fund was spent fighting wildfires.

    • MarcusB February 10, 2016 (1:43 pm)

      Good analogy Joel. The city/state are making a lot of money based off of more people paying property tax and sales tax since population has increased 100,000 in the last few years. And yeah, unemployment is low. Something doesn’t add up.

  • East Coast Cynic February 9, 2016 (9:53 pm)

    @Joel, I suspect it’s the lack of a city income tax in Seattle to bulk up their rainy day fund unlike many other major American Cities.  If we’re all that economically, why not?   We keep falling back on a regressive sales tax and property taxes to fund our needs.  Why not a source of revenue that is much more fairly assessed.

    • joel February 9, 2016 (10:48 pm)

      with all the building going on – both residential and commercial – the fees alone should be paying for a lot of these programs……as far as the sales tax….call it regressive but if you make more money you are going to spend more money and therefore pay more sales tax.  if you make less money you buy less and pay less sales tax….it’s all proportionate

      • Lynn February 10, 2016 (1:39 am)

        Yes Joel, I bet Bill Gates spends as high a share of his income as I do each year. (Not.) As for building permit fees, though cities are allowed to charge impact fees that cover costs like school construction, Seattle chooses not to do so.

      • datamuse February 10, 2016 (8:43 am)

        You’d think so, but that’s not actually what happens. If you’re poor, you’re likely spending more relative to your income out of necessity; while it’s possible to price compare for things like housing and groceries, by and large the prices of these things are not determined by your ability to pay. IOW a bag of apples costs the same whether you’re a McDonald’s cashier or Bill Gates. But most rich people don’t spend the same proportion of their income on things like food and clothing as poor people do, even if they’re buying more expensive things in those categories.

  • KM February 9, 2016 (10:49 pm)

    Is administration funded at the state level only? I don’t see a mention of it here. If the district moves an elementary school 5 blocks from another one–does it mean that more students will have to travel further and/or will the boundaries be adjusted? I don’t have a child in elementary school at the moment, pardon if this is an obvious question.

  • M February 10, 2016 (5:55 am)

    Shouldn’t the taxes from the the recreational pot be paying for city schools? Why do Seattle voters vote yes on every single levy and then two minutes later complain about housing affordability? It’s like the twilight zone around here. 

    • AMD February 10, 2016 (6:32 am)

      Because I know the levies only result in an extra $20 per year for a house the value of mine, which does not get anywhere near the rates at which rents are rising.  Any landlord that tells you it’s school levies causing one- and two-bedroom units to go for $200 per month more than they did a couple years ago is either an idiot or a liar.  

  • WSince86 February 10, 2016 (7:43 am)

    Exactly, M! 

  • JC February 10, 2016 (8:08 am)

    Wanna make a bet we won’t see much improvements they are promising?  Majority of our TAX money will be spent paying the admins big bucks .  I’m tired of seeing my tax dollars being wasted with no accountability from SPS!  Reason I voted No.

  • M February 10, 2016 (8:08 am)

    @AMD. All I know is that my property taxes have already increased by over $300 a month since I moved to West Seattle two years ago. That’s $300 less dollars per month that used to go to local non profits. Which use of those dollars makes a bigger impact on our community? 

    • skeeter February 10, 2016 (8:58 am)

      That seems like a big increase.  What was your assessed value in 2013 vs 2015?

      • Chib February 10, 2016 (3:56 pm)

        Similar experience here, M…  My assessed value increased 51% between 2012 and 2015.  My property taxes increased 235% over the same period.   For the first time in my life, I will be voting fiscal conservative across the board in future city and county elections.  

  • Toni Reineke February 10, 2016 (8:51 am)

    QUESTION: Once upon a time, these issues had to not only exceed 60% but also be voted on by a certain percentage (60?) of those who voted in the previous general election. I have a fuzzy recollection that we overturned that rule. Am I correct?  

    • WSEA February 10, 2016 (10:38 am)

      Bond measures must receive at least 60 percent approval and a minimum turnout of 40 percent of voters from the last general election.

      • KM February 10, 2016 (1:19 pm)

        Is that why we see more levies? I’ve only been in city limits for about 10 years, but it seems more thinks are listed as levies than bonds–easier to pass perhaps.

  • Ron February 10, 2016 (9:02 am)

    Why do Seattle voters keep approving these property tax increases for every single thing? The revenue isnt even used for property related causes.Crazy ridiculous.I’m seriously considering moving out of Seattle just because property tax keeps increasing and increasing and people keep voting for these increases.

    • colleen February 10, 2016 (9:21 am)

      Well, this particular ‘thing’ is the education of young people. For many of us the education and care of young people is a social obligation and responsibility which benefits all of us . It is what adults do. 

    • datamuse February 10, 2016 (1:33 pm)

      Because that, sales/use tax, and B&O are basically it for revenue sources?

  • MakeMineADouble February 10, 2016 (9:50 am)

    People are mixing two elements and thinking they are the same, those two being “Education” the other being “infrastructure”.  Both levies were for “infrastructure”.  Many children around the world have poor infrastructure, but gain good educations, many learn several languages and place highly in Math and Science scores all due to sitting on the floor in a mud-brick class room.  In America we do it just the opposite; high state-of-the-art infrastructure and very poor educational outcomes. 

    • WSB February 10, 2016 (10:03 am)

      Please note above what the levy money is going for (and plenty of previous coverage). No, the Operations Levy is not funding “infrastructure”:

      “This levy provides about 25 percent of the district’s general fund operating budget for day-to-day educational programs and services not fully funded by the state of Washington and helps fund salaries and classroom instruction, textbooks and supplies; transportation and security; Special Education and English Language Learners programs; and student activities such as athletics, music and art.”


      As for the lottery, it being some windfall for public schools is a myth. Explained here if you’re interested:


  • Rick February 10, 2016 (9:53 am)

    Glad all that lottery money is helping the schools and giving taxpayers relief.

  • Overthere February 10, 2016 (10:04 am)

    Who are these people that endlessly vote to throw away money? This levy money will go to expand the number of cronies in SoDo. The Seattle Public School District loves to do two things, spend money and cry they don’t have enough money.

  • Rick February 10, 2016 (10:40 am)

    By the way, this “thing” we call education in this system produces lots of “scholars” that can’t read,write,spell or do math but plenty of very comfortable administrators/teachers. Let’s throw boatloads of money at the”problem”. That’ll fix it.

    • colleen February 10, 2016 (11:32 am)

      I understand that Detroit has solved that problem. And housing prices there are so cheap!

    • Bonnie February 10, 2016 (1:18 pm)

      Huh?  That’s interesting because my ‘scholar’ is getting a pretty good education and her teachers work hard.    I did vote yes and while I never (ever) agree with the administration I like to feel at least I am putting my children first.  Agree or Disagree, our children come first. 

  • Junctionite February 10, 2016 (12:38 pm)

     I voted against this because lately these levies are never actually renewals, they are always enormous increases.  Why don’t we ever see a 5 year levy with a 10% increase?  I would vote for this funding.  I am usually lucky to get a 2% annual raise.   Of course how I vote never matters because Seattle votes for every opportunity to raise it’s own taxes.Maybe other sources could also be considered, like a City income tax?  Particularly for something like the upcoming housing levy. 

  • Chib February 10, 2016 (2:13 pm)

    My property taxes have more than doubled (2.35x higher) since 2012. If you’re not angry about the endless parade of new taxes, fees and tolls in and around the Seattle area, you’re not paying attention.  What are our retired neighbors and those on fixed income doing to cover these massive increases?  

    • Mark32 February 10, 2016 (9:30 pm)

      Sadly, the same thing my parents were forced to do, sell their house after 45 years and move.

  • JanS February 11, 2016 (12:11 am)

    wow…and did any of ypu naysayers get out and actually  campaign against the levies? Do any of you have children? Do any of you know any underpaid teachers who are giving  many, if not most of this city’s children a good education? If you have children, are you setting up your household and paying attention to your children’s education, so that they can be successful in school and in their future lives? Do any of you give a damn?

  • sam-c February 11, 2016 (8:28 am)

    unfortunately, I don’t think anything in these levies will do anything to improve teacher pay.

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