Early school levy decisions welcome
August 22, 2013
We appreciate early decision making by the two school districts serving Sammamish families.
Issaquah School Board led the way by agreeing to its 2014 school levy and bond package on June 26. Lake Washington School district was not far behind, approving its voter request at the Aug. 6 school board meeting.
With the citizen research done and the needs identified, there was no reason to delay the school board votes. It’s a good thing to get the facts out there early, as voters will need the six months lead time to get their head around the numbers.
ISD’s proposal includes a request for a $193 million maintenance and operations levy, a one-year $1.7 million transportation levy and a four-year $51.9 million capital/technology levy. Numbers could vary slightly before being confirmed this fall, after state funding is better known.
LWSD’s request is larger, including a $755 million construction bond for five new schools and extensive remodeling at many others. The district will also ask for $41.6 million for two replacement levies for operations, facilities and technology.
Those numbers can be overwhelming. While voters in both districts do favor supporting their schools, the real question comes down to what it costs each homeowner and whether the price is worth the added cost to each household.
In Issaquah, the total package will add about $95 per year to the property tax bill on a home valued at $500,000.
In Lake Washington, the same home would see an increase of about $405 per year.
Taxpayers’ heads are already spinning with tax increases just approved for county parks, and the legislature proposing (though not approving) higher taxes and fees primarily for transportation needs — including road maintenance and transit services.
Stepping up to the support the needs of students and growing student populations is never an easy decision, but thanks to the early work of both school districts, volunteers on either side of the issue can get busy raising the necessary dollars to mount informational campaigns so decisions can be made with full knowledge come February.