In a surprisingly candid piece, the Times lays out the case for the levies. The district, following its usual script, has not been as forthcoming but the Times points out the obvious:
How much is the district asking? The flier does not give the amounts,
but the levies total $1.25 billion — the district’s biggest request to
Much of that money, as the flier does say, would simply renew measures
that otherwise would expire. What the flier doesn’t say is that the
district also is asking voters to open their wallets a little wider.
This year, the owner of a $400,000 house paid about $1,000 in local
school levy and bond taxes. If both levies pass, that bill would go up
That basic information that, while true, is probably not exactly what the district wants to say right out loud (nor Schools First).
The district says:
The district also points out that Seattleites would pay half of what
homeowners in many nearby school districts do — just under $3 per $1,000
of assessed value, compared with $5 to $6 in Issaquah, Highline, Kent,
Shoreline and Federal Way.
District officials also defend the plan, saying larger elementary
schools will cost less to operate, and that they need to have enough
room for the additional 7,000 students that are expected to enroll over
the next 10 years. If the levy passes, they say, they’ll be able to
reduce the number of portable classrooms and shrink a big maintenance
backlog by about $100 million.
All true except that the backlog truly never ends. Are we maintaining the buildings we currently have in basic ways? No. Even the new ones that we spent millions to build? Not really. Because basic maintenance is low on the list of priorities, leaving that backlog to rapidly grow.
A parent who was on FACMAC says:
“This is a triage. It’s not going to fix everything everywhere,” said
Gail Herman, speaking as a parent. Herman also serves on the
district’s capacity- and facilities-advisory committee.
The district, Herman said, has done a responsible job vetting what
needs to be done, collecting the right data and asking the right
One interesting question I have is where is the deep research piece on BEX that reporter Brian Rosenthal has been working on? It is likely to be in a Sunday Times but it wasn't last week. Maybe it won't appear at all or maybe it might appear...after the election.