This morning, Mayor Jenny Durkan announced her proposal for a single property tax levy to replace two that expire at the end of this year: the Families and Education Levy and the Seattle Preschool Levy. It would also fund her Seattle Promise college tuition program.
Here’s what went down today.
This year two major education-related levies expire and will likely be put up for renewal: the Families and Education Levy, and the Seattle Preschool Levy. The preschool levy was passed in 2014 to fund a four-year “demonstration program” to offer preschool to 3 and 4 year old children in Seattle, hopefully proving its viability and discovering what it would take to scale it up.
This morning, the City Council started its process of looking at the two levies in anticipation of crafting renewals for the fall ballots. It may choose to combine them into a single levy, or opt to keep them separate if there is a risk that one would drag the other down — or if the complexities of trying to split the funds between City Hall-run programs and the politically separate Seattle Public School District become overwhelming. City Hall runs the Seattle Preschool Program through its Department of Education and Early Learning, independent of the school district (though in some cases utilizing classrooms at public schools).
Earlier this week, KUOW published an article raising questions about the quality of the Seattle Preschool Program, based on the second annual outside evaluation of the program. The article reports that the program is seeing “mixed results.” Let’s dive into the study report and see what it says.
This afternoon the City Council approved an ordinance that directs $2.3 million from the city operating budget toward covering the costs of switching Seattle’s public school system to a 2-tier schedule.
This afternoon the Council avoided a showdown on a controversial proposal to use Families and Education Levy surplus funds to pay for the Seattle Public Schools’ switch to a two-tier schedule.
UPDATED: see below
This afternoon the City Council plans to decide whether to divert $2.3 million of surplus funds from the Families and Education Levy to cover Seattle Public Schools’ busing costs for switching from a 3-tier to a 2-tier schedule. And the debate is getting ugly.
There was one big item on Monday afternoon’s Full Council agenda: the soda tax. But before the Council could get to it, it took a ten-minute digression into a tense debate on whether to throw some money at the Seattle Public School District to help it dig out of some of its problems.
Wednesday afternoon in his Education, Equity and Governance Committee, Council President Bruce Harrell pushed the Seattle IT department to go farther and faster in investigating public Wi-Fi as an alternative to municipal broadband in key areas of the city.
It was a pretty tepid day in Council Chamber, but here are a few interesting tidbits worth noting.