Families, Education, Preschool and Promise Levy passes out of committee

This morning, before the Council announced that it was repealing the head tax and all hell broke loose, it quietly finished up committee work on the Families, Education, Preschool and Promise Levy, sending it on its way to the full Council for final approval next Monday and then on to the November ballot for voter approval.

The ordinance enacting the tax was passed with four fairly minor tweaks in a single amendment:

  • requiring that the Executive Branch consult with the Levy Oversight Committee before submitting an implementation plan to the Council or modifying it at a later date;
  • removing the requirement that members of the Oversight Committee be citizens;
  • requiring that the Oversight Committee include representation from the communities impacted by levy investments;
  • adding “English language learners” to the list of underserved groups targeted by some Levy-funded programs.

The ordinance, however, doesn’t specify how the money will be spent. That is in a companion resolution, which was shared in draft form today but is still being circulated for comments among the Council members. The funding allocations in the current draft still match the co-chairs’ consensus proposal from last week, but that may still change before next Monday.

The Council did get a bit a good news this morning that resolves one of the outstanding issues: how to fully fund the Seattle Promise program. Committee co-chair Rob Johnson announced this morning that they had received a letter from the Presidents of Seattle Colleges agreeing to continue their partial funding of the program, which means that the Council doesn’t need to tap into Sweetened Beverage Tax funds to balance the budget.

The spending plan resolution is likely to see a few more amendments next Monday, but then both it and the ordinance should receive final approval. We then need to wait until November to see whether voters approve it.