Citizens weigh in: Pro and con statements on Edmonds School District levy proposal

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Publisher’s note: We are presenting pro and con statements from two Edmonds School District voters regarding the Proposition 1 levy appearing on the Feb. 13 special election ballot. Residents in the cities of Edmonds, Woodway, Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace, Brier and parts of unincorporated Snohomish County will be voting on a measure, which would allow the district to collect $1.50 per $1,000 assessed value on residences within the district. This will total between an estimated $49 million and $78.5 million per year from 2019-2022.  (Click here for more information about the levy.) Ballots were mailed to Snohomish County voters on Thursday.

Vote yes: Levy will ensure students receive quality education

As a former Edmonds School Board director, father of four children (all of whom attended the Edmonds School system), private businessman and property owner in the district, I support the upcoming school district replacement school programs and operations levy.

The levy is not an additional tax but a continuation of an existing one. The tax pays for approximately 20 percent of the current classroom and support programs which by law must be voted on every four years.

For a number of years the state has failed to fund the schools adequately and our local levy has had to supplement our schools to make up the difference. While the state has recently increased its support of the public schools (through the McCleary lawsuit which forced it to), it has still not fully funded the state school system. The levy revenue (and levy tax rate) is expected to decrease while the state funding (and tax rate) is expected to increase. This increase by the state will not offset/replace the levy at this time.

I feel fortunate that I live in a district that values education. Our citizens have consistently voted over the years in favor of the levy to ensure that the 20,000 students in our district receive the quality education they deserve. Vote yes for the levy!

Kory DeMun
Edmonds

Vote no: Levy will make home ownership even more unaffordable

As a 35-year Edmonds homeowner and concerned citizen, I’m opposing the Edmonds School District’s proposed quarter-billion-dollar, four-year property tax levy that will appear on the Feb. 13, 2018 special election ballot.

The Edmonds School District will receive a 41 percent increase in funding from the State of Washington in 2018 and increasing amounts in future years due to the new state school funding legislation passed in 2017. The district has proposed a levy on district homeowners that is higher in 2018 that was in place in 2017 ($2.35 per $1,000 assessed value with an increase to $2.37 per $1,000 assessed value) even though the student population has decreased. Beginning in 2019, the state has capped the levy amount at $1.50 per $1,000 assessed value and the district has projected levy revenue at $49 million in 2019 and increasing to $78.5 million by the year 2022.

With the levy, from year 2018 to year 2022, the District General Fund Revenue Analysis projects a 19.64 percent increase in funding to the district’s current $260 million budget.

If passed by district homeowners, this levy will make the cost of home ownership even more unaffordable. It will result in higher property taxes for every homeowner in Edmonds, Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace, Woodway, Brier and unincorporated Snohomish County due to the increased rate of assessment, the increase in State of Washington funding, and the dramatic increase in assessed value of homes.

Based on this information gathered from district officials, the school board, Washington State legislators and Snohomish County Assessors office, I am encouraging voters to vote no on Proposition 1 by the Feb. 13, 2018 deadline.

Tom Nicholson
Edmonds

 

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