Families, Education, Preschool, Promise Levy headed for November ballot

An expanded version of two expiring Seattle levies will be on your ballot this November. From the announcement of today’s unanimous City Council vote:

The Seattle City Council voted 9-0 to approve Mayor Jenny Durkan’s Families, Education, Preschool, and Promise plan to significantly increase the children in preschool, increase investments in K-12, and expand access to college for Seattle public school graduates through the Seattle Promise College Tuition Program.

With both the 2011 Families & Education Levy and 2014 Seattle Preschool Program Levy set to expire this year, Mayor Durkan proposed that the City renew and combine them through a new Families, Education, Preschool and Promise plan. Homeowners of a median-assessed-value property ($665,000 in 2019) would pay approximately $20 each month. For the first time, qualified low-income seniors, people with disabilities, and veterans with a service-connected disability will be eligible for an exemption. Following Mayor Durkan’s signature, the plan will be placed on the ballot for Seattle voters’ consideration in November 2018. …

… As proposed by Mayor Durkan and amended by the City Council, Mayor Durkan’s plan would make seven years of investments to:

Continue the pilot of the Seattle Preschool program and substantially increase the number of children in quality preschool from 1,500 in 2018-19 to 2,500 in 2025-26;

Increase K-12 and community investments in closing the opportunity gap, increasing teacher diversity, providing support services for students experiencing homelessness, and helping students most at risk of dropping out of school;

Continue our strong support for school-based health programs; and

Expand access to college for Seattle public school graduates through support for the Seattle Promise College Tuition Program, which would serve approximately 1,350 high school students participating in college prep and 875 Seattle Promise college students each year.

As of this fall, pre-levy vote, West Seattle High School joins Chief Sealth International High School and four other schools in what started as the 13th Year Promise program, a free year at South Seattle College (WSB sponsor). If the levy passes, all graduating public-high-school seniors in Seattle would be eligible for two free years at any of the Seattle Colleges, not just SSC. Meantime, for a comparison of the levy cost to taxpayers vs. what they’re paying now, it’s $9.36 more a month for that “median homeowner,” according to Councilmember Lorena González.

50 Replies to "Families, Education, Preschool, Promise Levy headed for November ballot"

  • TiredofGovernmentGreed June 18, 2018 (8:16 pm)

    So this new tax levy doubles the monthly tax on a median home from $10 to $20.  What exactly are we gaining for twice as much taxation?  Can the city show any measures of success to date on the original program?  Or is this just another money grab from the same government that gave us head tax, $80 tbd car tab fees, Income tax on the wealthy, and…wait for it…a congestion fee for driving your car through downtown?  

  • alkiresident June 18, 2018 (9:02 pm)

    9.36 increase per month represents a 46+% increase over the current levy. The only way to stop this appetite for spending more of your money is to say “no” at the ballot box.  

  • TJ June 18, 2018 (9:17 pm)

    Big gigantic NO here. Of course they basically want to double what is expiring, which is the Seattle way. They never let a tax expire and just go away, which they should here on this. There are mixed findings on the value of preschool. How about focusing on K-12? Only in government can you expand programs outside of the core area, which is mediocre at best now. At least the state supreme court has said we are fully funding K-12 schools now, but that being said, you can bet there are some that will still say we are not, and to those I can only say it would be hypocrotical to also be in favor of this levy too then. I don’t care if schools are a state responsibility. 

    • Tethyr789 June 19, 2018 (8:53 am)

      Plenty of scientific evidence supports the fact that preschool SIGNIFICANTLY improves outcomes for low-income children.  If you want our community to grow into a stronger better neighborhood, this is absolutely necessary.  Investing in our kids future in our kids future is a no-brainer.  If people want to complain, let’s complain about how we are not investing enough in our kids.  Massachusetts is a great example of how quality schools can be an effective investment in the future (and all the advanced industries that go along with a highly educated workforce).

    • Sarajane Siegfriedt June 19, 2018 (11:45 am)

      Both Republicans and Democrats in the State Legislature agree on the huge value of investing in early childhood education. There is no debate on this point, only on how to pay for it. Funding 1,500 slots for preschool was a pilot program. Increasing it to 2,500 is still a fraction of the age-eligible population. Please tell us what fraction that is. Paying for preschool or child care is a huge, inequitable burden, especially for single mothers. Ed Murray and Tim Bugress erred greatly in assuming an overcrowded Seattle Public Schools could provide classrooms. The program must include classroom space, perhaps in churches, without taking it from SPS full-day kindergarten space. Please report on where this program will be housed.

  • Rusty June 18, 2018 (9:54 pm)

    When someone asks me for money, I usually want to know how they intend to spend it. Instead of meaningless plattitudes like ‘close the opportunity gap, (and) increasing diversity’, how about amounts going to what programs, and how exactly they will be spent. Does anyone know if they have put out any detail? Would rather they focus on trade schools and subsidizing internship/apprenticeships than pay for ‘free’ college for 2 years. I would also hope that the preschool is only for those who need the help, or subsidized instead – but I wouldn’t count on it.

  • Tax relief June 18, 2018 (10:04 pm)

    Hell no

  • Tethyr789 June 18, 2018 (10:17 pm)

    It’s a levy for our schools.  I’m voting yes for our children and am willing to invest in our future.  I hope everyone else does too.

    • ltfd June 19, 2018 (6:39 pm)

      We have a school district, as well as the McLeary decision. Why exactly is the City of Seattle levying a separate tax for schools?

      • Melissa Westbrook June 20, 2018 (9:20 am)

        It pays for different things like summer school, health clinics in every comprehensive high school and a couple of middle schools, etc.  Things the district doesn’t pay for.

  • 1994 June 18, 2018 (10:18 pm)

    While these taxes sound like they are destined for wonderful ideas, the increase in taxes does cause a hardship for many,  many, Seattle residents…. Half of whom have adjusted gross incomes of under $50,000. We all pay for these taxes directly or indirectly.  These taxes leave less disposable income for the working poor. My salary increase was gobbled up by higher property taxes. Yes, my house may be worth a lot of money but I do need a place to live!

  • JRR June 18, 2018 (10:32 pm)

    I consider this a small personal investment in my community’s future and will be voting yes. It’s not just about me.

  • Gene June 18, 2018 (10:45 pm)

    So tired of “ it’s a levy for our schools it’s I’m voting yes for our children” mantra. 

  • Joel June 18, 2018 (10:58 pm)

     kids can do running start and graduate high school with an AA degree.  Kids in need going to college can get financial aide = free money.  Daycare – apply for state funding – daycares are happy to provide that paperwork as they know they are getting paid each month.  Need after school care – again reduced and/or free is already available.many resources already in place…no need to double the levy….with this booming economy the city should be raking in the sales tax and have the levy go bye bye…instead of doubling it.

    • WSB June 19, 2018 (12:01 am)

      Ever sent a kid to college? Financial aid seldom covers it all. If that’s the part you’re concerned about, this document explains: “The Seattle Promise is a ‘last dollar’ tuition program that will provide financial support to students who still have a financial need after receiving state and federal awards, grants, and scholarships.”

      • Canton June 19, 2018 (6:56 am)

        As a very reputable news source, please don’t show bias on the city, “doubling down” on a expiring levy that is supposed to become the state’s expense. If the initial levy gets voted down, they will come back next session, and half the amount. Kids that want higher education, work hard, to get grades in check for scholarships. Kids that work hard and can’t afford it, can get the aid, from multiple sources. We don’t need to pay for kids that have zero interest in further education. Saying this as a parent making well below median income.

        • Mickymse June 19, 2018 (10:30 am)

          Vote however you want… but — TO BE CLEAR — much of this is levy renewals of existing programs, so if you vote this down those programs WILL CLOSE, children will stop receiving whatever it is that those programs are offering while you wait a year for your lower amount, and staff will move on to other jobs.

        • Rick June 19, 2018 (12:45 pm)

          But,but,but. The lottery was going to fix this. And then it was privatization of liquor sales. And where the obscene tax dollars from weed legalization going? Money is like a drug to these folks. The only answer is more money with negligible results. How well has that worked for the homeless situation? I think there will be a lot more “no”votes. But that’s when the name calling,attempts at shaming,foot stomping,finger pointing,pouting and all will begin. I’ve read the blog since day one and it’s a great news source but it didn’t take long to see the bias. Use a variety of sources and stay informed. A close friend of mine worked as a higher up admin for Renton School District and just retired as the assistant to the superintendent of Bellevue School District and the stories I heard would make my hair curl (if I had any). Kids with no or shared school books  and many more examples. But she did enjoy the “retreats” to exotic destinations for “team building”. 4 star hotels for local meetings. I could go on. Definietley  a NO vote. We’ll see come election day, no matter how much spin is put on it. And the lies!

          • WSB June 19, 2018 (12:57 pm)

            Only ‘bias’ we have is for truth, accuracy, facts. If someone says something inaccurate or incomplete, we do our best to correct it or augment it. That isn’t a signal of an opinion on the topic.

    • CAM June 19, 2018 (3:21 am)

      The country has spent the last 10 years discussing the student loan debt crisis and your solution is to tell people to take out more student loans? I’d suggest you talk to some people who have student debt about how “free” that loan money is. 

      • KM June 19, 2018 (7:58 am)

        Student loan debt is toxic , I agree, but I think the OP wasn’t referring to student loans since they didn’t mention them. Possibly Pell grants? I think there are other non-loan options that qualify under “financial aid” that aren’t loans. It’s absolutlely possible to attend college debt free. Mine was a mix of running start, scholarships, and working about 30 hours a week. Best decision I ever made. 

  • raybro June 19, 2018 (7:51 am)

    Enough with the tax increases.  Vote NO.

  • Mark Schletty June 19, 2018 (8:12 am)

    Voters— please be aware that a vote for more levies is a vote to force out your low income and senior citizen neighbors. We are being taxed out of our homes. It isn’t any one levy, it is the accumulation of so many levies. At this point, a “feel good” vote “for the children” is really a vote to run out of town some of your neighbors. Not really such a “feel good” vote, is it?

    • Tethyr789 June 19, 2018 (8:47 am)

      Read the proposed levy.  It doesn’t require any additional tax on qualified low-income senior citizen neighbors (and others).  Let’s try not to spread misinformation please…

      • Mark Schletty June 19, 2018 (9:34 am)

        It’s not misinformation. The “qualified” definition is so low that you can be quite a bit above it and still not be able to afford the tax. You can be way below the Seattle median income and still not qualify for the exemption. When I lived in Chicago they did it right for seniors. When you hit the designated age your proprty taxes were just frozen at that level untill you no longer lived at that house. It did allow some wealthy people to benefit, but it made sure those who needed the break got it without quibbling about what level of income was too much.

    • John June 19, 2018 (10:05 am)

      Does Mark Schletty support a payback of the tax breaks when seniors receive the windfall from the eventual cashing in of the house they bought for $150,000  is now paid off and they sell for $800,000?

      • Mark Schletty June 19, 2018 (12:08 pm)

        John— I don’t recall if that was part of the plan in Chicago, but yes, I would definitely support a payback at time of sale. The idea is to avoid taxing seniors out of their homes, not to allow windfalls, especially in cases of greatly increased property values.

  • Scott June 19, 2018 (8:17 am)

    I vote NO on any and all taxes. This is not my City Council. 

  • Quora June 19, 2018 (8:21 am)

    I’m voting no and no on anything else these clowns introduce. Some of their staffers need to take some pay cuts; being a civil servant should not guarantee 100K plus salaries and kush benefits. Our government is BLOATED; time to cut the salt and fat.

  • dcn June 19, 2018 (8:41 am)

    I would vote yes if the levy renewal was at the same rate. Since property values are rising so fast, a lot of extra money would be raised through increased property values alone. But it seems that every time a levy comes up for renewal, the rate is always increased (and often doubled). Too many people can’t afford both the increase in taxes due to property value increases, and the increase in taxes due to levy rate increases. And this is without even considering the brand new levies that pop up every year. 

    • Mickymse June 19, 2018 (10:33 am)

      That’s not actually how levies work here in Washington state, though… (Yeah, I know. I think it’s cray-cray too.) So no matter how much property values increase, LEVIES don’t raise any additional dollars. Instead, your share of the levy actually goes DOWN.

  • HILLARY SHAW June 19, 2018 (8:57 am)

    Please note that this is a levy renewal and if it doesn’t pass, Seattle Public Schools (already facing a $70.8 million deficit by the 2021-22 school year because of HB 2242, the McCleary “Fix”) will be forced into a financial crisis from which it may not recover:SOURCE:https://www.seattleschools.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_543/File/District/Departments/2019%20Levies/Levies%202019-April%202018%20community%20meetings%20presentation-April%202018.pdfVoting against this levy renewal will absolutely harm 53,000+ schoolchildren and ultimately the economy of our city and our state.

    • Mark Schletty June 19, 2018 (10:14 am)

      Hillary-It’s not a levy renewal. It’s a levy doubling. Hardly the same thing. But it is the standard for the City— say it isn’t a new tax, just a renewal of an already existing tax. Ignore the fact that the City is doubling the tax.

    • Melissa Westbrook June 20, 2018 (9:22 am)

      Well, if you must make a choice, wait and vote yes in Feb. 2019 for the district’s own levies.If the F&E levy doesn’t pass, that would be sad.  To lose the district’s levies would be the real disaster.

  • MJ June 19, 2018 (9:15 am)

    As a parent who helped my son PAY for college and an infant daughter in daycare I say it is the parents responsibility.  Free college is a bad idea, students at this level need to have some skin in the game.  The State needs to keep Public College costs reasonable, say 80/20 and 50/50 State/student percent at Community and State colleges, respectively.Regarding daycare/preschool it is the parents responsibility.Property taxes are already too high; vote no on this levy.City revenue has grown significantly in the past few years, it is time the Council prioritize and spend money more wisely!

  • WS Resident June 19, 2018 (9:58 am)

    Whats funny is Seattle and the City Council are making very hard for average families with kids to survive.  Many are priced out to the cheaper suburbs.  Yet the Council wants a new tax to help kids pay for school.  At this rate there wont be any kids left in the city to use it.   They best way to help is to stop all the new taxes.  

  • steve June 19, 2018 (9:59 am)

    Great! Another rent increase coming!Call your rep,  let them know what you think. Then vote them out.Lisa Herbold: 206-684-8803
    Bruce Harrell: 206-684-8804
    Kshama Sawant: 206-684-8016
    Rob Johnson: 206-684-8808
    Debora Juarez: 206-684-8805
    Mike O’Brien: 206-684-8800
    Sally Bagshaw: 206-684-8801
    Teresa Mosqueda: 206-684-8806
    Lorena Gonzalez: 206-684-8802

  • WSMom June 19, 2018 (10:23 am)

    I would love for something like this to pass but I don’t think it will.  Seattle is TAXED OUT.  We can’t afford more taxes.  Our property taxes have tripled in the years since we moved into our home.  (it’s been awhile but still…)   :(

  • KBear June 19, 2018 (10:24 am)

    If only there were a way to tax people and corporations based on their ability to pay, so that everyone pays something but no one is overburdened. The government could have a predictable stream of revenue, and they wouldn’t have to keep hounding us with new levies for this and that. Too bad such a system doesn’t exist.

  • ShuffleRunner June 19, 2018 (12:12 pm)

    It is unfortunate that Herbold and crew had no strategic
    vision on their tax policy. I was against the income tax since it was obviously
    unconstitutional and the head tax since they could not articulate what they
    wanted to do with the funding. However, the school levy is both a good
    investment and has a well-researched plan on what to do with the funding. In
    their rush for additional funding, they have effectively hitched the school
    levy to these other boat anchors and sunk the whole thing.   

  • Doug Rasc June 19, 2018 (5:01 pm)

    Rents will go up. They have gone up way too high already.  VOTING NO !!! Also no more Property tax increases for 5 years!!! 

  • Irritated in W. Seattle June 19, 2018 (7:30 pm)

    Seattle has become a joke and the residents are paying the price.  Its completely ridiculous.  Do you know what the low income senior bracket is?  It is $41K for two adults.  That’s an income of $21,500 per senior.  That’s way below poverty levy.  I love how valuations go up for our home but they don’t go up for the seniors in the form of exemptions for them. My parent make just a little above $42K a year and they pay for extra AARP insurance as well.  They told me at one point that their prescription medicine costs them $600 a month.   Their property taxes are over 1/8 of their combined FIXED income.  Please do not tell me that is OK.   They can’t afford anymore LITTLE increases as it is already.  Seattle is forcing middle income and seniors out.   Really, where is all this money going?  The council needs t be accountable for the money they have already and use it effectively.   As for the 13th year promise –  honestly lets focus on our joke of a SPS before we move on to that.   Obviously we are having a K-12 crisis as it is.   Let’s focus on that before adding more taxes to our burdened Seattle taxpayers.  Oh and as for the rental fixes.  Has anyone thought that the consequences of increasing our minimum wage and increasing taxes has led to some of that?   Seriously.  I just had my oven fixed and my fridge fixed and it cost me an average of $300 EACH!.  An increase in property taxes leads to an increase in rent…   I’m sorry is it just me that see’s that was the eventual outcome.  

  • Irrited in West Seattle June 20, 2018 (6:51 am)

    We looked into it.  The exemption amount was $40K for a household and then you can try to do a tax deference  if you make over $45K .   I mistakening said they made $42K but it was $46K.   One thousand over mark.    We all know that its a burden on Seniors after a certain sum (as they are fixed income), maybe the council can come of with a sliding scale for seniors?   

  • Melissa Westbrook June 20, 2018 (9:24 am)

    Several things to note:- the bulk of the money goes
    to pre-K.  I like pre-K but I’m not sure I like subsidizing it for
    people who could pay.  Also, it’s a 6-hour “academic day” and I’m not
    sure I believe 3 and 4 year olds need that long a day.- About the
    City’s pre-K, it is troubling that the City expects free space from the
    school district (as well as maintenance and soft costs like accounting)
    and yet still charges the district to use space in Seattle Center (now
    the Armory) for a school.  Doesn’t seem fair.- the
    City has not really worked in tandem with the district on this newest
    behemoth of two levies combined.  That fine; it’s their levy.  But I
    think involving the district more might have been better.My
    biggest issue is whether the City will allow charter schools in Seattle
    to apply for grant money from the levy.  If you read the levy (and I
    have), they do only reference Seattle Schools.  However, there is
    nothing in the levy to prevent the City from giving money to charter
    schools.I will have asked – repeatedly – for City
    Council members to come out and say if they would support this action.   The question to all the CMs
    is, “Will you support giving levy money to charter schools that apply?” Given
    that Seattle does have some charter schools, the levy should specific
    on addressing this issue.  That it doesn’t speaks volumes to me and until I
    get assurances in writing that the levy dollars for public schools mean
    Seattle Public Schools, I will vote no.If you feel you have to make a choice in your levy vote, please vote for the district’s levies in Feb. 2019.  To lose those would be a disaster.

  • raybro June 20, 2018 (8:19 pm)

    What a concept:  City revenue has grown significantly in the past few years, it is time the Council prioritize and spend money more wisely!  I could not agree more.  This has been an issue for the last 30 years and it just gets worse and worse with each passing year.

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