Want to weigh in on Seattle schools' billion-dollar ask?

Sep 24, 2012

Seattle Public Schools will ask voters next year to approve more than a billion dollars in taxpayer funding, and this week the public will have two chances to weigh in on the district's proposal and its priorities.

The big-ticket item is the district’s capital levy, known as BEX-IV, which would fund $655.2 million in construction and upgrades over six years. At its first public meeting on the levy last week, Assistant Superintendent for Operations Pegi McEvoy explained that growing enrollment is driving the agenda, especially in the city’s North End and southwest corner.

“Over the next 10 years we’re going to have 7,000 students. When you think of right now an elementary school of 500 students, that would mean we’re going to need to build 14 elementary schools,” McEvoy said.

Parents at last week’s meeting pushed district officials on issues not addressed in the levy proposal, including a permanent home for North-End gifted students in the APP program and renovations at sagging elementary schools such as Daniel Bagley.

Besides the capital budget, Seattle schools will also put a $553.4 million operating levy before voters. The two levies together would cost the owner of a 400-thousand dollar home an extra 10-to-12 dollars a month in property taxes, according to the school district.

Seattle Public Schools will hold two more public meetings on the plan: Monday evening at Madison Middle School, and Thursday evening at McClure Middle School, from 6:30 to 8:30 PM. The school board is expected to vote on the final version in early November.