NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

Is your school district having an election today? If it is, don’t forget to vote!

A reminder to all Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate read­ers who live in Wash­ing­ton that today is Elec­tion Day! Tonight, at 8 PM, is the the dead­line to return bal­lots in the first of two spe­cial elec­tion peri­ods sched­uled to be held this year.

We real­ly ought to do away with spe­cial elec­tions alto­geth­er and save a lot of mon­ey and grief by con­sol­i­dat­ing to a June pri­ma­ry (a real pri­ma­ry, not the stu­pid Top Two sys­tem we cur­rent­ly use) and a Novem­ber gen­er­al elec­tion. But that would require chang­ing state law. Until that hap­pens, school dis­tricts have the option of putting levy and bond pro­pos­als on the Feb­ru­ary bal­lot. And many do.

In King Coun­ty, there are ten school dis­tricts with levies or bonds:

Today is the elec­tion day dead­line for vot­ers in Auburn, Fed­er­al Way, Fife, Mer­cer Island, Ren­ton, Seat­tle, Tuk­wila and Vashon Island school dis­tricts. Vot­ers have until 8 PM to return bal­lots to a drop-off loca­tion or acces­si­ble vot­ing cen­ter.

King Coun­ty Elec­tions has received 130,142 bal­lots to date out of more than 627,000 sent for today’s spe­cial elec­tion.

Vot­ers who are mail­ing bal­lots today need to remem­ber to affix a first class (49 cents) stamp and ensure that the mail will be post­marked today. Bal­lots arriv­ing with a post­mark lat­er than elec­tion day, by law, will not be opened or count­ed. King Coun­ty Elec­tions is fore­cast­ing a 31 per­cent turnout in today’s spe­cial elec­tion.

If you are reg­is­tered to vote and did­n’t receive a bal­lot in the mail a cou­ple weeks ago, it’s prob­a­bly because your school dis­trict does­n’t have any­thing on the bal­lot. But if you live in the afore­men­tioned dis­tricts in King Coun­ty and did­n’t get a bal­lot, some­thing’s wrong, and you should call King Coun­ty Elec­tions right away.

NPI gen­er­al­ly encour­ages you to vote “yes” on your local levies and bonds, unless you have a real­ly good rea­son for vot­ing no. As our friends at Fuse note:

School levies and bonds pro­vide essen­tial fund­ing for basic class­room sup­plies, build­ing main­te­nance, tech­nol­o­gy, and more.

It’s essen­tial that we vote YES because the Sen­ate Repub­li­cans have refused to close tax loop­holes or raise rev­enue to ful­ly fund edu­ca­tion. While we con­tin­ue to push con­ser­v­a­tives to do their part at the state lev­el, we must act now at the local lev­el to ensure all our kids have the tools and oppor­tu­ni­ties to succeed.

Here’s a list of things your prop­er­ty tax dol­lars end up pay­ing for:

  • Hire fac­ul­ty (teach­ers and staff)
  • Low­er class sizes
  • New facil­i­ties con­struc­tion and build­ing maintenance
  • Seis­mic retro­fits, ener­gy effi­cien­cy upgrades, and green school initiatives
  • Pur­chase and oper­ate school buses
  • Stu­dent ath­let­ics and the arts (band, choir, theater)
  • Acquire text­books and class­room materials
  • Ser­vices for stu­dents who are dis­abled, have spe­cial needs, or speak a first lan­guage oth­er than English

If we want great schools, then we have to invest. Qual­i­ty pub­lic ser­vices come at a price. By pool­ing our resources, we can afford these things. Oth­er­wise, we can’t. If you’re ready to do your part, please vote yes for our schools.

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