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Families and Education Levy Goes To Ballot

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On Monday, March 28, the City Council unanimously approved placing renewal of the Families and Education Levy on the November ballot.  After extensive review and discussion of the recommendations of the citizen committee that developed the new levy proposal, the Council agreed to propose a levy at the level recommended by the advisory group. The current Families and Education Levy expires at the end of 2011. The legislation, Council Bill 117103, would collect $231 million in Seattle property taxes over the next seven years, which translates to an approximate cost of $124 to the homeowner of a home at the average assessed residential value of $462,045 in 2012. We recognize that this is a big ask of our voters.  It is a significant increase over the current level of the levy, which was approved by the voters in 1990 and renewed in 1997 and 2004.  The City cannot fund classroom activities, as any City money for that purpose would just trigger a corresponding deduction from the State’s funding for the School District.  Historically, the City funds have been used for health clinics, before and after school programs, assistance for struggling students, and other activities that will support the students in reaching their educational goals. This levy will fund programs that will help at-risk students and low-performing schools.  The programs, directly administered and controlled by the City, supplement the basic academic instruction provided by Seattle Public Schools.  The Levy will also provide continued funding for school-based health centers and enhanced early learning opportunities to ensure that young children enter kindergarten ready to learn alongside their classmates.  Levy funded programs include clear accountability standards and outcome-based results measurements.  The City retains the flexibility to select, modify, and replace programs and contractors if they are not achieving their goals.
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