Thoughts on Everett School District's Bond and Levy Vote

Over and over again, this blog has chronicled the massive population increase in our area of Snohomish County. We know there are more people moving here every day, property values are rising, and more development is on the way. We also know that one of the main draws to this particular area is the schools. Cedar Wood elementary is widely recognized as one of the highest performing schools in the state, even while the parking lot fills up with portable classrooms. The same can be seen at nearby Jackson high school, where the student population hovers around 2,500. This growth and transition is a key factor that has led to Everett School District’s proposal of a bond and levy in 2018.

Even bringing up a bond and levy has the potential to cause consternation for taxpayers. “Aren’t the schools getting enough as it is?” The answer to that question depends on who you ask and when you ask them. And we’re seeing, on a state level, that this is a time of transition for how education is funded. A property tax increase is set to replace local taxes for funding education but there are still plenty of unanswered questions. So local districts like Everett (among many others) have chosen to ensure their own funding with these alternative measures.

The district is proposing a bond of $330.6 million dollars in the Feb. 13 vote. For those who have been in the district for a while, a bond is not an unfamiliar way of raising money for construction and renovation of facilities. In the Everett School District, this bond will cover things like building a new high school (in our neck of the woods), maintaining old buildings, and building new classrooms.

Meanwhile, a levy is a way to generate funds for school programs, teacher support, extra curricular activities, and transportation among other things. This particular levy is needed to help bridge the gap between funding from the state and the costs of these particular needs in the district. The levy we’ll be voting on in February will raise between $44.2M and $53.2M per year.

The biggest question that needs to be addressed for taxpayers when it comes to these measures is how it will change the tax rate. According to the YES campaign’s website (https://imvotingyes.com/2018-measures/faqs/) tax rates will have the end result of staying the same if these measures are passed. And the decrease in the local school’s tax rate will offset the increase in state property taxes.

And there is clearly a benefit to students, teachers, and parents as a result of these measures. Better schools, functional buildings, smaller class sizes, and innovative programs are only a few of the many reasons why a community would support the bond and levy.

Ultimately, when faced with an economic decision like this, it comes down to determining our values as a community. How do we value education, schools, and our children? Can we put a number value on that? There are no clear ways to assign worth as a community, but this bond and levy could be an important start. If we see these measures as an investment in our children and their future, our community is only strengthened. And a long-term look at the impact of better schools could see results like higher property values, which would be a benefit to all of us.

For whatever it’s worth 13point6 supports the bond a levy measures wholeheartedly. When it comes to our stated goals of building a strong, compassionate North Creek community, supporting the schools in whatever way we can is a win for all of us.

For more information, visit:  https://www.everettsd.org/2018bondlevy