Seattle Propositions 1 and 2, on the citywide ballot February 12, would renew two expiring school levies that are critical to the operations, maintenance, and safety of Seattle public schools.

Proposition 1 would raise $552 million over three years for for day-to-day school operations, including teachers, special education, and security.

Proposition 2 would raise $695 million over six years to pay for capital improvements, including technology upgrades, replacement and modification of Seattle's aging school buildings, earthquake safety improvements, and new schools to accommodate Seattle's 50,000 existing students, plus the 7,000 additional students who are expected to enroll in the city's schools over the next 10 years.

The McCLeary decision highlighted a crisis that demands collective action. Putting the state on notice that Seattle's all in is the smart thing to do. 

Neither of these proposals is a new tax. Both simply renew taxes that the Seattle school district relies on to operate and maintain its schools. Taken together, the additional cost for the typical homeowner  (over the current, expiring levies) is $152 a year, or about $13 a month.

Local levies statewide raise approximately $2 billion a year for education (280 of the 295 school districts have approved their existing local levies, including Seattle). Ironically, the recent Washington State Supreme Court McCleary decision noted this heavy lift at the local level to point out that the state wasn't living up to its constitutional mandate to fully fund K-12 education, and said the state has to kick in another $1 billion to $1.6 billion a year to get the job done itself.

Cynical voters may see that as an opportunity to vote the local money down as a way to put the state on notice. Astute voters understand that the McCLeary decision highlighted a crisis that demands collective action. Putting the state on notice that Seattle's all in is the smart thing to do.

PubliCola picks "Yes" On Seattle Propositions 1 and 2.