Press Release: REALTORS® Urge “Yes” Vote on Levy for Auburn Schools
BELLEVUE, Wash. (Jan. 11, 2016) – REALTORS® voted to unanimously support the Educational Program and Operations Replacement Levy for the Auburn School District. As part of the endorsement, members of the Seattle King County REALTORS® pledged assistance for a “get-out-the-vote” campaign for the Feb. 9 election.
The funding request, for four years, replaces a 2012 levy that expires this year. If approved, it would generate $176,850,000, which represents about 22 percent of the district’s general fund budget. In 2017 the levy rate would be $4.13 per $1,000 of valuation. With passage, and including previously approved amounts for technology ($0.38) and existing bonds ($1.68), local taxpayers’ projected school tax rate would remain level at $6.19/$1,000 of assessed valuation.
“Realtors understand the importance of strong, high-achieving schools,” stated long-time Auburn resident Roni Strupat, a past president of SKCR. “The quality of schools is a priority for prospective homeowners, and in fact, it’s often the first thing buyers ask about,” added Strupat, a managing broker at RE/MAX Performance Plus. She also noted savvy buyers know that quality schools will be a factor in the sales price when it’s time to sell.”
In considering endorsement requests, Realtors looked beyond statements of need, according to David Crowell, the association’s director of governmental and public affairs. Track records on academics and fiscal matters were also reviewed, he reported. “Realtors are keenly interested in creating and maintaining top-notch schools,” Crowell stated. “One of the core values of our diverse and active membership is protecting and improving the quality of life in our area. High-quality schools are an integral part of that, and a concern in every neighborhood we serve.”
Realtor Patti Hill, SKCR’s 2016 president, said her colleagues were particularly impressed by district accomplishments in adapting to demographic shifts, reflected in part by serving students with 65 different languages and dialects. “Despite a 1,000 percent increase in English Language Learners and economic challenges faced by much of its student population, including 55 percent who receive free or reduced lunch, the district outperforms the state at numerous grade levels on standardized tests,” she noted.
Realtors praised the district for its strong career and technical education programs and its achievements in having an unprecedented number of historically under-represented students succeeding in Advanced Placement courses.
The Auburn School District also drew commendation for its 14 consecutive years of peer recognition and awards for effective financial management and oversight. The district serves 15,500 students throughout a 62-mile area bridging cities and unincorporated areas in King and Pierce counties.
Crowell said Realtors have been actively engaged in education policy and school financing issues.” The Auburn Citizens for Schools Campaign leaders are well organized and obviously recognized the importance of engaging our members in their campaign for critical funding. They approached us last fall and, of eight districts in the county with measures on the Feb. 9 ballot, they were the only group to partner with a Realtor in seeking our endorsement and support.”