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City of Seattle

Proposition No. 1
Regular Tax Levy Including Families and Education

The City of Seattle’s Proposition concerns renewing and enhancing Education-Support Services to improve academic achievement.

This proposition would fund City services, including school readiness, academic achievement in elementary, middle and high school, college/career preparation, and student health and community partnerships as provided in Ordinance 123567. It authorizes regular property taxes above RCW 84.55 limits, allowing additional 2012 collection of up to $32,101,000 (approximately $0.27/$1000 assessed value) and up to $231,562,000 over seven years. In 2012, total City taxes collected would not exceed $3.60 per $1,000 of assessed value.

Should this Levy be approved?



Seattle Proposition 1 approves a property tax increase totaling $231,562,000 over seven years.  The levy is limited so that the City shall not levy more than $32,101,000 in the first year and the levy amount cannot grow by more than 1% per year.  The funding provided through Proposition 1 would be spent in seven major categories:

1.             School readiness and early learning. Major program elements include preschool for low-income three and four year olds; access for low-income families to high quality childcare; professional development for early education providers; school readiness support for children in home day-care situations, including home visits; health screenings; and preschool to kindergarten transition services.

2.             Academic achievement in elementary school. Major program elements include extended learning time, out-of-school time activities, and summer learning programs; and school- and community-based family support services.

3.             Academic achievement and college/career preparation in middle school. Major program elements include extended learning time; out-of-school time activities; social, emotional, and behavioral supports; summer learning programs; and advising, guidance and related support for college readiness.

4.             Academic achievement and college/career preparation in high school. Major program elements include extended learning time; social, emotional, and behavioral supports; summer learning programs; and advising, guidance and related support for college readiness.

5.             Student health. Major program elements include school-based student health clinics and physical, mental and dental support services at clinic sites in middle and high schools; school-based health services at high-need elementary schools; and health services for high-risk middle and high school students in alternative school settings.

6.             Community partnership fund. Major program elements include funding for community and school-based partnerships to achieve Levy goals.

7.             Research and Evaluation. Major program elements include research and evaluation of the individual programs and services in the foregoing categories and of the overall outcomes of Education-Support Services funded by levy proceeds.

Each year the City Council and Mayor will decide on the particular services to be funded within these categories, consistent with an Implementation and Evaluation Plan approved by ordinance.  Funding for the Seattle School District would be controlled by a Partnership Agreement approved by ordinance.  There will be an oversight committee composed of the Mayor, the Chair of the City Council’s Public Safety and Education Committee, the Superintendent of the School District, a member of the School Board, and eight community members.  This committee will make recommendations on the above-referenced plan and review programs and advise the City Council on proposed levy expenditures and reallocations to be adopted in the City’s annual budget.

In 1990, 1997, and in 2004 Seattle voters approved “Families and Education Levy” property tax increases.  Funds from the levies supported programs for children and their families both in and out of school.  The 1990 and 1997 levies each totaled $69,000,000 over seven years.  The 2004 levy totaled $116,788,000 over seven years.  The 2004 levy will expire by the end of 2011.

More information about this measure is available at:

Our community is returning to a school assignment system based on neighborhood schools.

At the same time, this generation of Seattle’s students will need to truly compete in the global economy. Let’s make sure every kid in every school has the opportunity to succeed.

We urge you to vote “Yes” for the Families & Education Levy. This is a renewal and enhancement of the existing levy known for its strong record of success. For 20 years, the initiative has provided support to children and their families, both in and out of school, helping all of Seattle’s children become safe, healthy, and ready to learn. 

Since 2005, the Levy has successfully provided:

• Early-learning support for approximately 4,000 children

• Out-of-school activities for more than 20,000 youths

• Parent engagement and family support services to at least 12,000 families

• Academic support and interventions to more than 19,000 students.  

As a result, Levy-funded middle school students are showing a 21% increase in meeting math standards, and a 13% increase in meeting reading standards.

We know this economy will demand more math, science and technical knowledge than ever before. We also know the next generation will compete with workers from all over the world. That’s why the 2011 Levy places special emphasis on:

• Early-learning programs that set up Seattle’s youngest students for success

• Extra learning time for students struggling to meet reading and math standards

• Strategies that better equip kids with college and career-readiness skills. 

Moreover, Levy-funded programs are held accountable for specific and measurable results, so our kids get the support they need.  Programs that don’t produce results won’t receive funding.

The Levy is endorsed by the League of Education Voters, Alliance For Education, Schools First, Seattle Education Association, Seattle Council PTSA, Stand For Children, King County Labor Council, Former Mayor Norm Rice, Estela Ortega, Matt Griffin, Greg Wong, Bob Watt, Mayor Mike McGinn, the Seattle City Council, and dozens of community organizations and concerned citizens.

Since 1990, the Families and Education Levy has given thousands of Seattle’s students support and educational assistance during their education experience. Without continued support, the gains our kids have made would be at risk.

Renewing and enhancing the Levy will help make sure every kid in every school has the opportunity to succeed. Vote “Yes” for the Families & Education Levy.

Seattle voters who really care about families and education should be outraged by, and reject, Seattle Proposition 1.  Over the past 21 years, Seattle homeowners have spent one quarter of a billion dollars -- $69M in 1990, $69M in 1997 and $117M in 2004 -- with no improvement in Seattle schools.  Despite 21 years of the same grandiose promises of success that the levy advocates are still making today, the achievement gap is as wide as ever and the dropout rate is still appalling.  The City Council’s answer is to double-down on failure and ask you for another quarter-billion dollars to throw at the problem without seeming to notice that these programs don’t work.

This levy puts middle-class families at risk in a time of economic uncertainty.  You will pay $850 if you are a typical homeowner, twice as much as the prior levy.  Parents and grandparents will have less money to provide for their children’s and grandchildren’s educational needs.

The Seattle City Council can’t demonstrate that the funds raised by the last levy were spent wisely.  They promised accountability last time but there’s no evidence that the programs have made a difference.  Some of the levy dollars were used to pay campaign consultants and political action groups.  The city cannot provide a complete accounting of all the funds that were spent. This levy is supposed to help families, but as far as we can see the only beneficiaries will be bureaucrats and politically-connected contractors. 

The Seattle School District has shown time and again that it cannot manage its resources responsibly.  Every household, family and business has been forced to prioritize its budget over the last few years of economic recession.  Doubling the prior levy, as Proposition 1 would do, will only encourage more unproductive spending and won’t force the city and the school district to prioritize and fund the most effective programs.  To promote responsible government, give families flexibility, and keep Seattle affordable for everyone, we urge you to vote NO on Proposition 1.

Accountability has been, and always will be, part of the historic success of the Families & Education Levy.  Programs are managed by the city, performance-based, and tied to achieving specific and measurable results.

The successes are clear:

  • Early-learning support for 4,000 kids;
  • Out-of-school activities for over 20,000 youths;
  • Family support services for 12,000 families;
  • Academic support for over 19,000 students.

Levy-funded middle school students are showing a 21% increase in meeting math standards and a 13% increase in meeting reading standards.

Economic experts are urging investments in education so we can better compete in the global economy. Our kids simply need more math, science and technical knowledge than ever before. Renewing and enhancing the Levy is the right step at the right time.

The Families & Education Levy is accountable and successful. Let’s make sure every kid in every school has the opportunity to succeed.

Statement submitted by: Greg Wong, Parent • Estela Ortega, Executive Director of El Centro de la Raza • Norm Rice, Former Mayor

402-9th Ave N | Seattle, WA | 98109


A 13% or 21% improvement in a few middle school outcomes?  Seriously?  If this is the best argument for the levy's supposed success, then it only underscores how pitifully unsuccessful the levy has been.

The Levy Annual Reports provide no evidence that any levy program improved student achievement.  One of three students still fails to graduate!  On the levy's primary goals -- graduation rates, readiness for college or vocations, and narrowing the achievement gap -- the Levy Annual Reports only make promises but don't report any success measures because they can’t!  After spending a quarter-billion dollars over 21 years, it seems the real beneficiaries of the levy have been well-connected private contractors and not our children.   

Enough is enough.  Seattle's families who are struggling in this economy can't afford to double the current tax and spend another quarter-billion dollars on a failed program.  Vote NO on Prop. 1.

Statement submitted by: Nicole Franklin, Andrew MacDonald and Irene Song, Seattle parents

Simple Majority (RCW 84.55.050)

1249 en-US Production

TTY: Relay 711

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