Press Release: REALTORS® Urge “Yes” Vote on Bond Proposal for Kent Schools

BELLEVUE, Washington (Oct. 12, 2016) – REALTORS® voted to join other supporters of a bond proposal for the Kent School District, not only by unanimous endorsement of the measure, but also by pledging assistance for a “get-out-the-vote” campaign for the Nov. 8 election.

The new bonds (Proposition No. 1) would replace expiring bonds without raising overall school taxes. If approved, the $252 million request would fund projects at every school to reduce overcrowding, improve safety and/or support various infrastructure renovations.

An identical measure on April’s ballot failed by 218 votes, falling just shy of the 60 percent “supermajority” approval required for passage. That disappointment prompted proponents to expand their community outreach and information campaign to rally broader support.

In considering bond and levy endorsement requests, Seattle King County Realtors (SKCR) requires applicants to complete a questionnaire for review by members of the association’s Governmental and Public Affairs Committee. A representative from the campaign is also invited to meet with the committee.

“Realtors know first-hand about the value of high-performing schools and the connection to safe, modern learning environments,” said Patti Hill, this year’s president of SKCR and a broker at Windermere Real Estate Northwest. “Good schools are a top item on most homebuyer checklists because they add both quality of life and financial benefits,” she added, citing the Schools & Housing 2016 Report Card published by the parent company of RealtyTrac.

Kent resident Sam Pace, a broker with Executive Real Estate and a South King County housing specialist for SKCR, said buyers know good schools define communities. “It’s not just families with school-age kids that are concerned about the quality of schools when buying a home. Savvy buyers know that quality schools will be a factor in the sales price when it’s time to sell.”

In voting to endorse the measure, Realtors said they were favorably impressed by the district’s statement of need, the work of Citizens for Kent Schools, and the multi-lingual informational campaign to address voters’ concerns that were uncovered following the rejection on the April ballot. One concern, according to campaign representative Chris Loftis, was whether taxes would increase if voters approved the measure. This time around, advocates are emphasizing the new bonds will replace expiring ones without raising overall school taxes.

“We commend the district for engaging dozens of residents on its Citizens’ Bond Review Committee to help set project priorities,” Hill said in announcing the Realtors’ support. She also praised the Citizens for Kent Schools group for recognizing the importance of communicating with the district’s diverse population(with more than 135 languages spoken by its students) and in pro-actively seeking endorsements as part of its campaign strategy.

Hill and Pace pledged to encourage SKCR members who live in the Kent School District to vote yes on Proposition 1 and to help promote its passage.

Seattle King County Realtors, with approximately 6,300 members, is actively engaged in education policy and school financing issues. At October’s meeting of its Government Affairs committee, members also voted to endorse the bond proposition of the Auburn School District.