Sunday, March 02, 2008

Why you should support the school levy

Mercer Island is holding a special election on March 11th for a proposition to authorize the district to levy in the amount of $9,994,000 for the district's Capital Projects Fund.  I believe that any proposal to levy property owners should be made with great humility -- after all, we're taking real money from real people -- but in this case I think it's very well-justified and urgently needed -- perhaps the best example you'll ever find of a "good tax".  I'm already on record as strongly supporting this levy, so in the next few posts let me take some time to explain why.

First, note that you won't be paying as high a property tax rate as surrounding communities -- in fact, our rate actually goes down from last year.  Look carefully at this chart from the Seattle P-I:

Mercer Island has a built-in disadvantage for school funding compared to, say, Bellevue, because we don't have a significant commercial tax base.  Of the nine districts in our area, we currently rank last in per pupil expenditures per year in technology.  Many people move here because of the schools, but don't get complacent: we're not as good as we could be, and unless we keep up the funding, we're going to get worse.

I've got a bunch more things to say about this levy, particularly the technology section, and I'll follow up in more detail in posts throughout the next few days.


Anonymous said...

Hi Richard,
Thanks for the great info! For context it would be really great to know the detail on how the $4.79M in funds from the 2004 tech levy were spent. Thanks!

Richard Sprague said...

Sorry, I don't have that info handy. Perhaps somebody else can comment?