News Release: REALTORS® endorse capital projects levy for Lake Washington School District

BELLEVUE, Washington (April 10, 2019) – A capital projects levy that would help ease overcrowding in the fast-growing Lake Washington School District earned overwhelming endorsement from Seattle King County REALTORS® (SKCR). The measure will appear on the April 23 Special Election ballot.

The Prop. 1 Capital Projects Levy seeks $20 million per year for six years to fund major building additions plus safety and security improvements. If approved, it would maintain the 2019 tax rate for construction at current levels.

At a meeting with members of SKCR’s Governmental & Public Affairs Committee, district representatives said a home assessed at $600,000 would be taxed $162, or about $0.27 per thousand over the six years. The tax would be offset by a reduction to the bond debt service rates as old bonds are paid off, resulting in “net zero” impact.

“As a longtime resident in the Lake Washington district, I am keenly aware of its reputation as a top-performing district,” said SKCR president Rich Bergdahl of RE/MAX Northwest in Kirkland.
“Sustaining academic excellence and accommodating a growing student population in a safe environment require investments in classrooms and common spaces. Along with our endorsements, Realtors are committed to helping get out the vote,” he added.

A proposed bond for $299 million went before voters in February 2018 but garnered only 54 percent approval, short of the 60 percent needed for passage. The district retooled the request, scaling it to $120 million over six years, to focus on critical capacity needs only.

“The district’s 26 percent increase in enrollment in the past decade, coupled with projections for 2,000 more students by 2022 is convincing evidence of the need to add space,” said Lynn Sanborn, the Realtor association’s vice president of governmental and public affairs. “Our members were impressed by the district’s No. 2 ranking among the state’s best public school systems in recent rankings by BackgroundChecks.org, despite having 49 of its 54 schools at or over capacity,” added Sanborn, who lives and works in Kirkland.

Numerous studies indicate quality schools have a direct and positive influence on residential property values, stated David Crowell, JD, director of governmental and public affairs at SKCR. He noted Realtors are actively engaged in education policy and school financing issues in many of the 20 K-12 districts within King County.

“In addition to completing a comprehensive five-part backgrounder and case statement questionnaire, district representatives are typically invited to attend meetings of the Government Affairs Committee,” explained Crowell.

“It’s not just families with school-age kids that are concerned about the quality of schools,” emphasized Sanborn, managing broker at Windermere Real Estate in Kirkland. “Both buyers and sellers of real estate benefit when the educational needs of children area priority,” she remarked.

As part of the Realtor organization’s support, Bergdahl said members pledge to help “get out the “YES” vote. Realtors are encouraged to support the grassroots campaign organization and to join other campaign proponents by displaying signs and participating in informational outreach activities.

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.

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