Washington voters approved $1.7 billion in taxes, passing 49 of 50 school levies in special elections this month, according to the League of Education Voters.
Those levies can support construction, maintenance and operation costs at districts throughout the state. Bellingham School District likely will put out a bond to voters this year to pay for construction and updating at its facilities.
Here’s what the League of Education Voters had to say about these levies and how they push education costs from the state to local districts:
Although a frequent theme of last year’s governor’s race and this year’s legislative session is that voters will not support revenue to pay for education, local election results stand in stark contrast to that narrative.
In many districts, local levies make up 25 percent or more of the total operating costs of their schools. These local dollars often pay for necessary school costs like staff salaries, textbooks, or a sixth period in school—a far cry from the “extras” they were originally intended to provide.
In January 2012, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled in McCleary v. Washington that the state was not meeting its constitutionally mandated duty to fully fund basic education. The court ordered the Legislature to overhaul how education is funded in the state by 2018.
Do you think that levies are a good way to supplement falling state funding? If taxpayers are paying for schools whether it’s through levies at the district level or through state funding, should Congress increase its funding for education?