News Release: REALTORS® endorse levy measures for Auburn School District
BELLEVUE, Washington (February 4, 2020) – Seattle King County REALTORS® (SKCR) voted overwhelmingly to endorse two funding propositions from the Auburn School District. The measures are on the February 11 Special Election ballot. Last month, SKCR announced its endorsement of measures being proposed by the Bellevue, Kent, and Tahoma school districts.
Dahni Malgarini-Logar, this year’s VP of governmental and & public affairs for SKCR, said the association has a long history of supporting strong school districts with track records for academic achievement and prudent fiscal management. “Our members live and work in many of the 20 K-12 school districts in King County, and we are actively engaged in education policy and school financing issues. Realtors® understand the importance of strong schools along with the value their clients place on highcaliber districts,” she stated.
The Auburn School District is proposing a $175 million fouryear Educational Program and Operations Replacement Levy (Proposition 1) and a $35 million, six-year Technology Replacement Capital Projects Levy (Proposition 2). Both measures require a simple majority to pass.
The Educational Program levy replaces a 2016 levy that expires this year. If renewed, it will fund services and programming not provided or fully funded by the state, including $8 million for special education, all athletics, other extra-curricular activities, career and college readiness activities, extended learning opportunities, extra staffing in school resource officers, security officers, nurses, health room technicians, school psychologists and family engagement staff.
The replacement Technology levy will maintain or upgrade numerous technology-related equipment, lab spaces, and infrastructure for the district’s expanding enrollment (up 13% in the past five years).
District officials estimate taxpayers’ cost for the Educational Program levy would be $2.50 per $1,000 of their home’s assessed valuation (AV) in each of the four years starting in 2021. The Technology levy would range in cost from $0.31 to $0.36 per $1,000 AV during that measure’s six-year span.
Prior to acting on the endorsement requests, SKCR committee members reviewed responses to a detailed, five-part questionnaire, which covered basic information about the proposal, the involvement of citizens in the process, the impact on property owners, and the campaign plan, explained David Crowell, the association’s director of governmental & public affairs..
Long-time community volunteer and Realtor® Nancy Colson, a managing broker at Windermere Real Estate/Lake Tapps in Auburn’s Lakeland Town Center, is the parent of kids who went through Auburn schools. “I’m always proud to say, when asked by my real estate clients, that our schools are top-notch,” stated Colson, who has been in the Auburn area since 1976 and is a graduate of Auburn High School. “We have a thoughtful, committed, award-winning school board and a community of voters who support the bonds and levies that allow us to update old schools, build new ones, and offer student support not funded by the state,” she added.
“As the mother of two boys who graduated from Auburn Riverside, I know first-hand how school levies have enriched their learning opportunities,” commented Realtor® Hannah Biddulph with Windermere’s Auburn-Lakeland Hills office. “I see the value of supporting local schools,” she continued, noting one son who was particularly interested in engineering and architecture classes really loved using computers, especially the 3D printer. “My other son did Skills USA Electronics and took part in opportunities to compete, placing 2nd in state and regional.”
Realtor® Sam Pace, the South King County Housing Specialist for Seattle King County REALTORS®, said a 2017 study by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) found 26% of home buyers considered the quality of schools when looking for a new home. While the research indicates schools aren’t the only determinant of home prices, Pace said a good home in a good school district can fetch a higher price, and also hold a better resale value than a similar home in a less-stellar district. In fact, said Pace, “Economists have estimated that within suburban neighborhoods, a 5% improvement in test scores can raise home prices by 2.5%,” according to a New York Times report.
Numerous other studies also indicate quality schools have a direct and positive influence on residential property values, added Crowell. He cited a 2013 realtor.com survey that found over 90% of home buyers said school boundaries are “important” or “somewhat important,” and that many are willing to go over budget if it means they will locate in a desirable school district.
Real estate broker Jamie Penrod spoke of how her own family has benefited from some of the programs and services the Educational Program levy supports.
“Both my boys attended schools in the Auburn district. Even though they are now graduated, I continue to support school levies and bonds,” said Penrod, a managing broker and part owner of Renaissance Real Estate in Auburn. She noted her oldest child, who is high functioning Asperger’s, benefited greatly from the district’s special education programs. “As a broker, I know both buyers and sellers value Auburn’s high-performing schools and well-managed district,” she stated.
Biddulph agreed. “Auburn’s levies not only contribute to the development of young adults, but they also strengthen our community and our home investments,” added Biddulph, who owns a rental home in Auburn. “It’s easy to get on board knowing how essential investments in technology are for future careers and college readiness programs. “
Along with voting to endorse the measures, Realtors® are committed to helping Auburn Citizens for Schools, a nonprofit, volunteer organization, get out the vote and to assist other campaign proponents in their informational outreach activities, according to Crowell.
Auburn’s measures were prepared in part with input from a 27-member stakeholder committee. There is no known opposition to either measure according to King County Elections information. In addition to SKCR, the measures are endorsed by 47th District Democrats and the Auburn Education Association.
SKCR, based in Bellevue, has more than 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.
Tags: @SKCRealtors, @AuburnSchools, @AuburnCitizens4Schools
Levy information: https://www.auburn.wednet.edu/Page/21998