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City of Seattle
Seattle City Council

SUBJECT: Seattle City Council takes action on Families and Education Levy

3/21/2011  4:29:00 PM
Nate Van Duzer, Councilmember Burgess’ Office, 206-684-8806

Dana Robinson Slote  (206) 615-0061

Council President Richard Conlin
Councilmember Sally Bagshaw
Councilmember Tim Burgess
Councilmember Sally J. Clark
Councilmember Jean Godden
Councilmember Bruce Harrell
Councilmember Nick Licata
Councilmember Mike O’Brien
Councilmember Tom Rasmussen

Seattle City Council takes action on Families and Education Levy
Council committee sets levy for 7 years, $231 million

Seattle Today Seattle City Councilmembers passed out of committee legislation to place renewal of the Families and Education Levy on the November ballot. After rigorous discussion, the Council unanimously approved the levy at $231 million. The legislation will be considered for final adoption at the Full Council meeting on March 28.

"Today’s unanimous vote sends a strong signal that this Council is committed to Seattle’s most vulnerable children and struggling schools," said Councilmember Tim Burgess, chair of the Council’s Public Safety and Education Committee. "We recognize the City must do more to partner with the School District and prepare all of our children for college and career. The Levy is an effective tool that moves us closer to this goal."

The Levy would fund programs with proven results to help at-risk students and low-performing schools. These programs, directly administered and controlled by the City, supplement the basic academic instruction provided by Seattle Public Schools. The Levy would also provide continued funding for school-based health centers and enhanced early learning opportunities to ensure young children enter kindergarten ready to learn alongside their classmates.

Council President Richard Conlin stated today, "Some people may ask themselves if Seattle can really afford to renew the F&E levy.  I ask myself, how can we not?  Poverty and unemployment are so much more expensive."

"Our kids deserve every opportunity to succeed," stated Councilmember Sally J. Clark.  "Every dollar taxpayers invest will be prioritized by the city to ensure the outcomes we want – engaged, academically challenged youth prepped for college and career."

"This investment gives all of our children a chance to succeed," said Councilmember Bruce Harrell.  "The programs that will be funded by this levy will help to ensure that all children in Seattle get a chance to be innovators, thinkers, and our future leaders."

The current Families and Education Levy expires at the end of 2011. The legislation, Council Bill 117103, considers a proposal that would collect $231 million in Seattle property taxes over the next seven years, which translates to an approximate cost of $124 to the homeowner of the average assessed residential value of $462,045 in 2012. The Full Council is scheduled to vote on this legislation on March 28.

"The levy is an exceptional chance for our city to make a difference," added Councilmember Mike O’Brien. "The city will use this money to invest in those children who need it the most – and in the most effective and collaborative way possible."

Councilmember Jean Godden said, "While I am sensitive to the additional impact this Levy request puts on Seattle homeowners, I strongly believe that the needs of our children trump my concerns."

"The funding in the levy for student health services will help ensure higher G.P.A.s, increased attendance and graduation for our children in our schools," said Councilmember Tom Rasmussen. "Kids that are healthy learn better."

The Council held a public hearing and convened five special committee meetings to consider the levy legislation.

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