Letter to the editor: Support our teachers — vote yes for the replacement levy

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Dear Editor:  
We are so fortunate to have one of the finest school districts in the state. The educational programs, special services and extra-curricular activities that are provided for our students continue to receive top honors and awards for excellent achievements. 
 
A primary reason for the success of our programs is the fact we have some of the best teachers in the country. Our teachers are dedicated, committed to excellence and are inspiring. It is imperative we do everything we can to support our educators. Voting for this replacement levy means there will be continued funding for the daily efforts of our teachers. Success of this levy will ensure there will be the necessary instructional materials, textbooks, assistance with special needs students, training sessions for the staff and support for important activities like our elementary music classes that help to keep our students in the best positive learning environment. 
 
Please join with me and my family and vote on February 13, 2018 in support of the Replacement Levy.
 
Frank DeMIero
Edmonds

33 COMMENTS

  1. I myself and many of my neighbors are voting NO. Not anything to do with kids but the TAX is just too high, in lieu of all the many other taxes on the radar with this Govenor. We may have the best unattended schools in the area if you Keep up the burden of such high taxes. It affects people who rent too, (my daughters landlord already informed them if this passes expect a rent increase.) Landlords have to pass these costs on to renters. Where do you think seniors living on a fixed income are going to get this huge increase ?? The money tree in the back yard?? Vote NO, so you can still live in your home.




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  2. Nice to see we can vote up (or down) on comments now. Check out the cover story on the Beacon before you vote to give more money to Edmonds schools. Property taxes are rising significantly this year due to an increase in assessments and the 1% levy. According to the Beacon most of the increase will go to the schools. Why don’t we let the schools burn through these funds first and see what is needed. You can be sure your 2018 assessments will go up yet again. Kudos to the landlord for letting the tenant know she’d be paying for the increase.




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  3. Seattle Times reported that state will send $73,574 per teacher to Mukilteo, Shoreline, Everett and Snohomish and $70,014 to Edmonds for our teachers. Edmonds average teacher salary is $77,000. The difference has always been paid from local levy funds. One should reach out to our state reps and senators to provide the full amount for our teachers and include that in the definition of “basic education” That would make the budget hole around $7,000,000 less. We do not want to loose good teachers to other surrounding districts.




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  4. With the state assessment at $2.89/1000 in 2019. If our assessed value is let’s say 15% higher that would make our current $28.3b or about $32.5b. The state assessment would produce $94m. The state has projected to send Edmonds $221.4m or $127.4m more that collected from the state levy. That extra comes from other general fund revenues. Let’s lobby our state reps and senators for a bigger amount from the GF to balance our budget. Another $30-50m from the state would close the funding gap.




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  5. I and every neighbor that I have spoken to in Edmonds has already and will be voting NO on the quarter billion dollar Edmonds School District levy on Feb. 13. With the 41% increase in state funding to the District and dramatic property assessment increases in the Edmonds area this levy represents a significant move to make living in Edmonds unaffordable. This discussion is occurring even though the enrollment in the District has gone down in 2017 from 2016. This levy has nothing to do with the quality of the teachers or their compensation. In discussions with District officials, Snohomish County officials, City of Edmonds, and State Legislators it has been clear that the School District attempting to pass this 4 year levy in this environment will significantly increase every property owners taxes in Edmonds, Mt. Lake Terrace, Woodway, Brier, Lynnwood, and parts of unincorporated Sno. Co. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, vote no on Proposition 1 School Levy today, thank you.




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      • Thanks for the heads up. Just looked yesterday, so it must have been posted today. I got away with just 12% increase, but as I commented before elsewhere that increase means my property tax has doubled (that’s 200% for those who like percent) in 8 years.




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        • My wife just pointed out that I should maintain reference when citing percentages, so I must revise that doubling as a 100% increase since I used “12% increase” earlier in the sentence. She is correct and very smart.




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  6. Mr. Williams. Thank you very much for the link. I saw that last week and could not locate it again.

    Everyone needs to see this before voting. Our 2018 taxes due increased $900 per year from 2017. Just the ESD portion alone is $3146 for a 2200 square foot non view home in Edmonds. I think that is enough. Hopefully more will read this and check their homes. Shocking to say the least. Where does it end.

    My wife and I have already voted no.




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  7. Many of us are concerned about the significant increase in school taxes, and we also need to be concerned about how our city’s share of total taxes keeps shrinking – from 16.9% in 2017 to 14.7% in 2018! Our city should have more funds for public safety, but city officials, aware of what’s happening with total taxes, are obviously reluctant to ask taxpayers for more.




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    • Mr. Wambolt – are those percents based on total taxes (i.e sales tax, utilities tax, etc. as well as property tax) as you wrote or on just property taxes?




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    • Thank you – my first thought was that it was prop tax since that was the subject at hand, but then I thought I shouldn’t assume that.

      I was looking into why my prop tax had doubled since 2010 and from the annual county Assessor’s reports:
      … Edmonds (without EMS/bond) received in 2010 $9,383,000.00; in 2017 $10,218,548.91 (~ 9% increase)
      … ESD received in 2010 $73,629,963.00; in 2017 $120,095,031.82 (~63% increase)
      .
      So even though the city is receiving more revenue from prop tax, their percentage is going down because of the large increase in school levies.




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  8. This thread is about teachers so some teacher pay data. EDS pays teachers on average $77,000 (per ESD). The state is planning to send us $70,0014 (Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and reported in Seattle Times). State sends Shoreline, Mukilteo, Everett, Snohomish, and Lake Stevens $73,574 or $3,560 less (same OSPI source). The tax bill we are about to get has money for the difference for 2017 year. We are voting for 2019 local taxes and a no vote now will not have funding to pay teaches their current rate. So between this Feb election and the end of 2018 we will either decide to tax ourselves for some level of “enrichment dollars” or not. Either a new election will have to be done with some amount of taxation or we will have to make cuts on the programs and pay that are being funded locally.

    Hopefully a thumbs up will be that you understand these facts and an thumbs down means you do not believe these facts. A response would tell us why you believe what you believe.




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  9. There are the increased taxes due to McCleary + potential Levy Renewal…

    And that is just the beginning…

    When is the other shoe going to drop? Education is still not “fully” funded…(whatever that means)

    Lawmakers aren’t moving fast enough to boost education spending, Washington Supreme Court rules https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/washington-supreme-court-says-legislatures-mccleary-school-funding-plan-isnt-enough/




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    • The legislature and governor had not done their job in a way to allow us all to fully understand the impact of the law passed called HB 2422. Basic education defined in that bill is less what most districts, including ESD does for our kids. They do not fund any extracurricular activities like sports and clubs. They do not fully fund what we are spending on special education. They are not funding any programs that schools are offering beyond the classes necessary for the core classes. And as stated above they do not pay the full contracted salaries for our teachers.

      Regardless of what it is called the state send money from 2 sources. One is the levy they collect and the rest if from the general fund. More than half of what they send is from the general fund.

      What the state does not help us understand is how they well be shifting money from property rich districts to property poor districts. Edmonds will be subsidizing other districts! That impact was quantified in an earlier post.

      To follow the money in both state and local is like watching the walnut shells and pea game.
      I have the projected revenues from the state and the local levies for 2017-2021 but do not want to take up too much space on this response. If others are interested in this data let me know.




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  10. FINAL Reminder, the Edmonds School District Quarter Billion Dollar levy ballots must be turned in by Tues. Feb. 13, if this levy were to pass it would result is a significant property tax increase to every homeowner in Edmonds, Woodway, Lynnwood, Brier, and Mt. Lake Terrace. The State of WA increased funding to the Edmonds School District by 41% starting in 2018 and the enrollment in the District continues to decrease. ENOUGH is ENOUGH, Vote no today on The Edmonds School District Levy Proposition 1 by Feb. 13 and let’s try to keep Edmonds affordable.




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  11. Actually it will result in a decrease. The current tax is higher then the one we are voting on now. So that portion of you taxes will go down if you vote yes. A no vote will reduce the tax even more but at the expense of the kids. No money will be available for those items not funded by the state in their definition of basic education. When we all find out what the absence of local money will do to the school’s budget we will vote for the next levy to fill the budget hole. Yes our taxes are going up this cycle because of how the state has increase their levy rate and uses the money gained to redistribute revenues from property rich districts to property poor districts. The blame is on how the state plans to fund all a schools and Edmonds and other districts are simply reacting to the short fall that will not be funded by the state.

    All of us want lower taxes but some of us want to educate our kids at least at the current level.

    Looking forward to all the thumbs down but hopefully not because you do not believe the facts.




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    • As you point out, Edmonds School District (ESD) will get additional revenue this tax year (2018) above what they expected since the old levy was based on previous state funding (before the 2017 EHB 2242). ESD has chosen not to credit taxpayers for their 2018 windfall as some School Districts in the state have done. I find it hard to “blame” the state for that decision.

      To say our taxes will go down if we vote yes is misleading. Go down from when – 2018? Sure they will because we’re being taxed at the old ESD levy rate in 2018 and at the same time additionally taxed for extra school funding from the state.




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      • Jim, my point of blaming Olympia is simply this. They have not done their work in a timely manner so local districts could analysis there revenues and expenses in a way to at least keep educating the kids the way we do today. This lack of action cause districts to try to second guess what would happen to local, state, federal and other funding sources. ESD decided to propose a levy that would produce the maximum allowed by current law ($1.50/1000 or $2500/kid..whichever is lower!). For ESD that would mean local revenues of $49-54m annually starting in 2019. While some districts have said they would “credit” taxpayers if their finally turns out to be a temporary windfall, I for one would want the district to use that windfall to advance our kids education using the available enrichment items. After seeing that our special education issues are funded and we have paid our staff the current contracted salaries and we avoid any teacher layoffs, then we could use the dollars for other enrichment items. I trust the School Board to be responsive to the taxpayers and do the best thing for the kids and taxpayers. Olympia set this whole problem up for us and ESD is simply trying to do the right thing for kids and taxpayers.

        On the taxes paid I was not trying to play games with measuring from selected dates to show our tax rates will go down. Below is the combined estimated tax rates based on current state law for ESD tax payers. The rates are expressed in $/1000. These numbers come from state and district projections based on current state law.

        2016..4.61
        2017..4.38
        2018..5.22
        2019..4.39
        2020..4.34
        2021..4.18

        While the rate will go down what happens to the property values will impact the actual tax bill for the average home. The total assessed values in ESD for the current 2018 assessment is $28,300,385,358, up 12.7% from 2017. If values stabilize the actual taxes paid will go down. Only time will tell what happens to our home values but this levy will not collect more than $49-54m over the 4 years. These are enrichment dollars not basic education dollars. Voting yes keeps the revenue for the intended purposes and voting no will definitely lower our taxes and eliminate all enrichment dollars needed to keep the current levels of education in place. If we vote no then we have to decide what level ($0-$2500/kid) we want to do locally.




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        • If the school district truly could not adequately analyze (which is unlikely) what they needed then why didn’t they wait a couple of months until they could? This levy isn’t collected until 2019, so presenting it as a dire need that cannot wait for proper analysis is stretching it.
          Bottom line, I do not blame the state for sending the district more revenue. I do blame the district for a typical bureacratic response and not doing what some other districts somehow managed to do despite the state’s untimeliness.




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  12. For those of you who would like to know the enrollment numbers actual and forecasted here you go. Year over Year is also shown and yes we did have a one year decrease. Facts are kid count is growing not declining. If you vote no I hope it was not for the reason kid count is going down.

    2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
    20249 20420 20304 20461 20630 20845 21116 21311
    Y+- 200 171 -116 157 169 215 271 195




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    • Sorry the numbers do not line up, they did when I was typing but not when posted. Maybe this will work.

      ………….2015 ….2016 ….2017 …2018 …2019 …2020 …2021 ..2022
      ………… 20249.. 20420.. 20304..20461..20630..20845..21116..21311
      Y+- ……..200 ……171 …-116 …..157 ….169 …..215 …..271 ….195




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  13. From now on, the ESD should go to Olympia for their wants and needs…A Democratic controlled state legislature should take care of all of their fiscal needs totally. It’s what was voted for.

    The ESD should leave us alone!




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  14. Only citizens who pay property taxes should be allowed to vote on new levies. A person who votes that another take on additional financial burden without having skin in the game themselves is despicable.




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  15. Well the levy passed. When the canvass results are available it will be interesting to see how it did in Edmonds – not that it really matters since it’s only the vote of the entire district that counts.




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  16. Very disappointing that the homeowners in the Edmonds School District appear to have narrowly approved a quarter billion dollar property tax increase for the next 4 years despite a decrease in enrollment, a 41% increase in State of WA funding, and significant increase in assessed values of properties. This impact will be felt over the next 4 years as you receive property tax assessments from Snohomish County. Please share your thoughts, thank you.




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  17. Mr. Nicholson, I feel your pain as a property tax payer in Edmonds. One commenter made a comment regarding those voting on levies who don’t pay property taxes in the ESD. I don’t fault those allowed to vote now in that situation.

    My question is with the policy. Is it fair to those who pay property taxes or possibly have legal issues? Perhaps someone can answer. Thank you.




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