News Release: Levy proposals for Bellevue schools earn REALTOR® endorsement
BELLEVUE, Washington (Jan. 24, 2018) – A trio of levies for classroom operational, technology, and transportation needs in the Bellevue School District won endorsement from the Seattle King County REALTORS® (SKCR). The measures, which require a simple majority approval to pass, will appear on the February 13 Special Election ballot.
Proposition No. 1, valued at $304 million over four years, renews a commitment for various education programs and operations representing 22 percent of the district’s budget. Proposition No. 2, valued at $163 million over four years, renews support for technology and capital projects. The third measure would generate $8 million in 2019 to fund new and replacement school buses for the district’s growing enrollment.
“Bellevue has one of the finest school districts in the country and Seattle King County REALTORS® are extremely proud to endorse their needs for additional levy funding. Healthy public schools create healthy communities which create healthy real estate,” said Michael Orbino, managing broker at Avenue Properties Bellevue and SKCR’s 2017 vice president of governmental affairs.
The Realtor association endorsement, which was by unanimous vote, followed a factual presentation on the funding proposals by Melissa deVita, the district’s deputy superintendent for financial services and operation, at a meeting of the group’s Governmental & Public Affairs Committee. Several Bellevue Realtors advocated on behalf of the measures. Prior to consideration, applicants seeking endorsement must complete a questionnaire detailing how funding would be used, citizen involvement in vetting the request, the impact on property owners, and other background information. That document circulates to committee members prior to their meeting.
Citing findings from Niche.com, which conducts independent analyses of data and reviews, committee member Eddie Chang noted the Bellevue School District ranks among the best in the country. “The district draws people from all over the world, which is a testament to the tremendous work done by teachers, others in the district, the Bellevue Schools Foundation, and all the PTSAs,” he remarked.
Chang, a Realtor at Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty, said the replacement levies will help BSD maintain its position as a top-ranked district and desirable place to live. “As a Realtor, a member of the community, and father of two young children in Bellevue, I wholeheartedly support these levies,” added Chang, an “Honor Roll Realtor” with Bellevue Schools Foundation.
“Realtors understand the importance of strong, high-achieving schools and are actively engaged in education policy and school financing issues,” stated David Crowell, JD, the association’s director of governmental and public affairs.
Crowell said members of the association also consider the fiscal aspects of any funding request, including a district’s history of financial management, the cost to homeowners, and various metrics that reflect returns on investments. “Great schools are the foundation of our community’s future,” he emphasized.
“The district’s exceptional bond ratings by both Moody’s Investor Service and Standard and Poor’s are noteworthy,” Crowell stated. Realtors were also favorably impressed by Bellevue’s record of academic achievement while serving an increasingly diverse population, he added, noting more than 30 percent of students speak a first language other than English.
As part of the Realtor organization’s support, Crowell said members pledge to help “get out the “YES” vote. Realtors are encouraged to support the grassroots campaign organization (Bellevue Quality Schools) and to join other campaign proponents by participating in sign-waving events and informational outreach activities, he noted.
Sam Pace, a broker with Executive Real Estate and a 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,” he stated, citing the Schools & Housing 2016 Report Card published by the parent company of RealtyTrac.
SKCR, based in Bellevue, has approximately 7,000 members and is a local board of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). Members of the nonprofit professional trade association adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and participate in matters at all levels of government that affect private property rights, housing supplies, affordability, and homeownership opportunities. Membership is voluntary, and only members may use the term REALTOR®, which is a registered collective membership mark.