Originally published Friday, October 21, 2011 at 3:46 PM

Vote yes for Families and Education Levy

Frustration about financial scandals in Seattle Public Schools should not deter citizens from voting yes on the Families and Education Levy, an important and successful effort controlled by the city of Seattle.

quotes The main opposition argument is that the levy has been completely ineffective for the l... Read more
quotes It;s not the increased taxation in a recession that disturbs me so much. Rather, I have... Read more
quotes Vote NO on this doubling of the current tax! This is not the time to be increasing... Read more

VOTERS should approve the Seattle Families and Education Levy, despite its gulp-inducing $232 million price tag, a near doubling of the current levy.

The size of the request matches the needs of students in Seattle Public Schools.

For nearly two decades, Seattle citizens have voted for a property-tax levy to support children and their families in the public schools. The money has made a difference. Seattle students now score higher than the state average on standardized tests.

But this important work is far from finished. Academic gains, while impressive, mask deep disparities in achievement among low-income and minority students.

Voter generosity would allow the seven-year levy to continue and pay for such things as expanding early learning and kindergarten programs; extra learning time at the neediest elementary schools; support for struggling students transitioning from middle to high school; academic support and career and college planning for at-risk high-school students; health and mental-health screenings and family support for immigrant, refugee and Native American families.

The levy's goal remains essential: prepare all children to graduate from high school and ready for college or the workplace. It is time we dreamed for every child what we dream of for our own.

Opponents of the levy argue against helping the district, citing its financial scandals. But district management has no connection to the levy, which is controlled entirely by the city.

Strong accountability measures by Mayor Mike McGinn and the City Council offer transparency and assurance the money is being well spent. Two contracts under the current levy were canceled because the programs were not producing promised outcomes, a welcome sign city officials are serious about accountability.

State budget cuts have had deep impacts in our local schools. Maintaining support for the levy is more crucial than ever. Vote yes on Nov. 8 for the Seattle Families and Education Levy.


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