It's time: Fund our schools
It's time: Fund our schools! Scene at a Lake Washington Education Association rally at Kirkland's Marina Park (Photo: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

King Coun­ty Elec­tions has just released pre­lim­i­nary results for the Feb­ru­ary 12th spe­cial elec­tion, and the num­bers so far are good across the board for Seat­tle and Ren­ton Pub­lic Schools. Seat­tle vot­ers are giv­ing a big thumbs up to both of their levies (an oper­at­ing levy and a cap­i­tal levy), while vot­ers in greater Ren­ton are say­ing yes to pro­posed con­struc­tion bonds as well as an oper­a­tions levy.

The two Seat­tle levies and the Ren­ton levy appear des­tined for passage.

Seat­tle Propo­si­tion #1 enjoys 65.81% sup­port right now, with 34.19% opposed. That’s the oper­a­tions levy. Seat­tle Propo­si­tion #2 enjoys 68.19% sup­port, with 31.81% opposed. (The Seat­tle Times edi­to­r­i­al board had urged a wide­ly-ridiculed no vote on Propo­si­tion #1 and a yes vote on Propo­si­tion #2.)

In Ren­ton, Propo­si­tion #2 has 59.80% sup­port and oppo­si­tion of 40.20%.

As set forth in the Wash­ing­ton State Con­sti­tu­tion, the thresh­old is a sim­ple major­i­ty of those vot­ing and all of these levies are clear­ing that bar with no trouble.

Ren­ton’s con­struc­tion bonds are anoth­er mat­ter. To pass, the con­struc­tion bonds have to sat­is­fy what’s called the six­ty forty (60/40) rule. The bonds must receive a 60% yes vote with min­i­mum turnout of 18,578 vot­ers (40%).

If both require­ments are not met, the bond mea­sure will not pass. Like levies, the thresh­old for pas­sage of bonds is spec­i­fied in the Wash­ing­ton State Constitution.

Right now, the bonds are clear­ing the first hur­dle… bare­ly. 60.11% of bal­lots cast so far on the bond mea­sure are in favor. How­ev­er, turnout stands at only 16.86%. Turnout will need to more than dou­ble in order for the bonds to pass.

We think the six­ty forty rule for bonds should be abol­ished, but such a change would require amend­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion. An amend­ment to do just that has been intro­duced and is being con­sid­ered by the Leg­is­la­ture. The House ver­sion is House Joint Res­o­lu­tion 4203 and the Sen­ate ver­sion is Sen­ate Joint Res­o­lu­tion 8201.

We encour­age you to con­tact your leg­is­la­tors and let them know you sup­port HJR 4203 and SJR 8201. You can track its progress through the leg­isla­tive process with our State­house Bill Track­er, which is always at your ser­vice on NPI’s web­site.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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