Hey, wait a minute! It's not November! It's not even close! What's the deal?
Well, for some parts of the Seattle area, we're looking into the teeth of a small election next Tuesday (Feb 13). You may have gotten ballots. You may have already forgotten about them. The great bulk of them, such as the ones in Panther Lake neighborhood of Kent, are about paying for the schools.
Here's how things break down, currently. The bulk of school funding (about 68%) comes from the State Government, and yes, you're going to see property taxes go up this year as they come to terms with the fact that it is in our constitution that we educate our kids (who knew?). This is isn't about that. And 12% or so comes from the Feds, and the way things are going there, we'll get a nice note saying that the money was used instead to build ten feet of wall in Texas. The remaining 20% is funded locally, which is ALSO a property tax, to keep stuff going. And these taxes are to replace existing levies from 2014 which are expiring.
Why have the vote now? I suppose it is because the budgets were not in place last November (too soon) and by this coming November it would be too late. So we have a February ballot drop, when everyone would rather just kick back and watch Olympic Curling. Such are the nature of civic duties.
I've got a note here that says that if both measures are approved, we will see a reduction in local school tax rates, though not from the state school tax rates. I don't know - I don't have enough of a handle on the data, but I am a fan of educated kids, so here's my recommendation. If you live in Kent, vote YES on Proposition 1, Replacement of Expiring Educations Programs and Operation Levy. Then TURN THE BALLOT OVER and also vote YES on Proposition No. 2, Levy for Capital Improvements for Safety, Security, Instruction, Classroom and Support Services and Technology.
If you're not in our little pocket of heaven, you're on your own, but I think that smart kids and adequately funded schools is a good goal.
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