Press Release: REALTORS® endorse three levy measures for Lake Washington School District
BELLEVUE, Washington (January 18, 2022) – Three ballot measures for the Lake Washington School District earned endorsement from Seattle King County REALTORS® (SKCR). The propositions on the February 8 ballot seek funding for two replacement levies and one capital construction levy for the district, which serves more than 30,000 students.
“REALTORS® know homebuyers are keenly interested in quality schools, and in investing in them. Findings from the National Bureau of Economic Research indicate additional school expenditures may benefit everyone in the community, whether or not those residents actually have children in the local public school system,” stated Rachel Mehmedagic (Adler), this year’s president of SKCR and a product of LWSD.
Members of the association’s Governmental & Public Affairs Committee voted to support the LWSD measures following a presentation and discussion with levy representatives. If approved, the levies would help fill gaps between state funding and needs for early learning, classroom technology, building updates and construction to help relieve overcrowding.
According to figures from the Lake Washington Citizens Levy Committee, the annual tax for the trio of measures would be $2,840 for the owner of a home assessed at $1 million. That’s about 10% more than last year’s figure. After three years, the construction portion of the rate will decrease when previously approved bonds are paid off and prior construction levies expire.
Proposition 1, the Replacement Educational Programs and Operations Levy, supports 14% of the district’s overall budget. At an average cost of $92.3 million per year, it includes funding for various health and safety professionals along with staffing in areas such as special education, early learning, and English learner programs. Also included is continued funding for additional course offerings to support graduation requirements, summer learning, music and arts programs, athletics and other extracurricular activities.
The second replacement levy provides monies for school technology and capital projects for needs not covered by the state. It would help fund student and staff laptops and tablets, training for new instructional technology and software, technology infrastructure, and an array of building updates to replace aging systems, safety enhancements on campuses, plus health, safety, and energy systems improvements at district facilities. The total average cost per year for both components is $44.3 million.
Proposition 3, the Building Excellence Construction Levy, would enable construction of critical classroom space district-wide and the acquisition of property for future schools. The growing district has added 7,300 students since 2008 and expects to add another 3,500 students by 2030. The district projects 83% of schools will be at or over capacity by 2030 if no work is done. The total cost for all the building projects recommended by a Facility Advisory Committee is $295 million.
“Access to modern technology is essential in my profession and for students as they prepare to become part of a global workplace and engaged members of society,” said Garrett Nelson, this year’s vice president of governmental and public affairs at SKCR. “Also critical are modern and safe, well-maintained learning environments,” added Nelson, a managing broker at Executive Real Estate.
Nelson said REALTORS® endorsed all three measures by a near-unanimous vote, noting they appreciated the involvement of parents, community members and others in vetting the propositions. “We also recognized overcrowding concerns, the district’s academic achievements, and its commendable record in budgeting and delivering projects on time.”
REALTOR® association president Mehmedagic, a managing broker at Windermere Mercer Island, said members who live in the Lake Washington School District are urged to vote yes and to support the Lake Washington Citizens Levy Committee’s campaign with donations, by displaying “Vote Yes!” signs, and by volunteering to help get out the vote.
The Lake Washington School District and its 59 schools span 76 square miles encompassing Kirkland, Redmond, and parts of Sammamish. It just earned its fifth consecutive Meritorious Budget Award from the Association of School Business Officials International. LWSD is the only district in the state to receive the award, which recognizes excellence in presenting accessible, accurate budgets to stakeholders.
Fourteen school districts in King County have funding measures on the February 8 ballot. Seattle King County REALTORS® also endorsed two propositions from the Bellevue School District. As part of the endorsement process, applicants must complete a questionnaire detailing how funding would be used, citizen involvement in vetting the request, the impact on property owners, and various metrics that reflect returns on investments by homeowners and other stakeholders.
SKCR, based in Bellevue, has more than 7,500 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.