Unions Appeal Judge's Ruling, Seek Separate Votes On Seattle Pre-K, Childcare Plans

Aug 18, 2014

A union-backed advocacy group for Seattle childcare workers has appealed a lower court ruling that pits a voter initiative the group favors, Initiative 107, against a city-endorsed pre-kindergarten proposal on the November ballot.

The advocacy group, Yes for Early Success, asked the state Court of Appeals to review a King County judge's decision that states Seattle voters cannot cast votes in favor of both I-107 and the city's proposed preschool plan.

If voters approve I-107, the city would raise the minimum wage for childcare workers to $15 an hour, create a central training institute for early educators and set goals designed to bring down the cost of child care.

The city-endorsed preschool plan involves a $58 million property tax hike that would cover preschool tuition for up to 2,000 low-income students by the end of a four-year pilot run. More well-off families could pay on a sliding scale to participate.

City officials feel the two programs are incompatible and contradictory. I-107 supporters say city leaders are creating a "false choice," arguing both plans should have the opportunity to pass.

Currently, voters can cast a vote supporting neither ballot measure or one of the two, but not both.

The final deadline for printing King County's general election ballot is Sept. 5.