The Times recommends
School levies deserve 60-plus percent
Voters outside Seattle still have a reason to head to the polls for Tuesday's special election: two King County school-district...
Voters outside Seattle still have a reason to head to the polls for Tuesday's special election: two King County school-district levies deserve the public's resounding support.
• The first request comes from the Highline School District. The school system south of Seattle proposes a $140 million, four-year operations levy. The levy's purpose is simple: The money will pay for the basics in this 17,300-student district. It will pay for bus transportation, special education and instructional materials, including textbooks and computers.
Depending on the levy funds are 95 teachers and 170 support staff. All told, the levy makes up a fifth of the district's operating funds.
This isn't unusual. Growing education cost means most districts rely on voter-passed levies for a significant portion of their operating funds. When these money measures fail to garner voter support, districts are forced to severely scale back.
Highline's money measure faces a daunting 60 percent supermajority requirement. Concern over voter turnout cannot be overstated. In February 2003, Highline failed its levy by less than half a percentage point.
We shouldn't let this one fail.
Since 1996, three Highline levies had to be submitted to voters a second time before they passed. That's an expensive and time-consuming effort for any district but more so for Highline, where nearly two-thirds of the students come from low-income or non-English-speaking homes.
• In the opposite corner of King County, voters should approve a three-year, $695,000 levy request from the Skykomish School District. The tiny district of 70 students deserves the support of its neighbors and families.
Public investment in education has grown over the years, appropriately so. We've raised the academic bar and school districts such as Highline and Skykomish do their part to meet it. Support for school levies is the public's part of the bargain.
Seattle Times transportation reporter Mike Lindblom describes some of the factors that may have led to the collapse of the I-5 bridge over the Skagit River in Mount Vernon on Thursday, May 23.