All about the School District Levies Renewal

Saturday, January 22, 2022

By Donna Hawkey

Two Shoreline School District levy renewals on the February 8th ballot will soon arrive in your mailbox. Proposition 1 replaces the expiring levy for “Educational Programs and Operations”. Proposition 2 replaces the expiring “Capital Levy for Technology Improvements and Support.”

School levies are essential as they pay for what is not paid for by state and federal governments. Even after the 2012 McCleary legislation act designed to fund public schools fully, the complex controversy over the definition of "fully" or well-funded schools continues today in Olympia.

Did you know that the state allocates less than one school nurse for our entire district? Every Shoreline School has a nurse due to the difference paid by the local Prop 1 levy.

Parent Sara Betnel, who is a school board member, said, "Having a nurse in every school has always been important for the health of our students, and it's been even more so over the past few years. Can you imagine not having nurses in our schools during a pandemic?"

Levies support students and teachers, culminating in the district receiving numerous acknowledgments for its high-scoring schools, as noted in publications such as The Washington Post and US News.

An example of how the Shoreline District invests in its teachers; Prop 1 allows for additional teacher training with a total of eight days per year versus just three that the government budgets.

And the Proposition 2 levy has earned the Shoreline School District the reputation of being a leader in education technology access and assisting learners at every level.

Ms. Betnel said, "We are so fortunate to have this levy so that our students can learn with modern and ever-changing technology skills. Having access to devices and the many applications used across the district aids all our learners and prepares them for the future."

The Shoreline-Lake Forest Park Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) membership percentage is one of the state's highest with an active group at every school.

"Both the communities of Shoreline and Lake Forest Park show how much they highly value education," said Marla Miller, Deputy Superintendent, Shoreline School District.

Proposition 1 - Renewal Levy for Educational Programs and Operations.

Prop.1 pays for over 20% of the district's general operating budget. For mandatory special education services, the levy renewal pays approximately 40%, which is the amount not paid by the state or federal government.

This renewal includes (taken from the Shoreline School website):
  • Special education staff and instructional programs, highly capable programs and academic support for students
  • Nurses, family advocates, librarians, and counselors
  • Building maintenance, utilities and transportation
  • Extra-curricular student activities, including music, drama and athletics
  • Professional development and all Time Responsibility and Incentive (TRI) compensation for teachers and staff
Proposition 2 renews the expiring Capital Levy for Technology Improvements and Support.
  • Student and staff computers and technology access
  • Software, online subscriptions, resources and classroom curriculum
  • Annual maintenance and licensing
  • Equipment upgrades and replacement
  • Staffing, professional development and training
  • Network servers and wireless infrastructure.
  • Email and website services for families, students, and staff.

For further levy renewal information:

It's not an easy job being a school board member tasked with juggling restrictive budgets. Rod Dembowski, King County City Council member, commented during a Best Start for Kids levy discussion in 2021. "Of all the public service jobs I witness, being a school board member is the hardest one you can do."
Director of District 1, Meghan Jernigan, offered her perspective as a community member "These are unusual and challenging times, and they have revealed how much we rely on our educational system for all that it provides our community. As we enter a new season for the district, with our replacement levies and an incredible superintendent, we have the opportunity to continue investing in our youth. And our commitment to our youth is part of what makes this community so special."

Historically, levy renewals in the Shoreline School District have voter support.

If you have any specific questions about either of the two levy renewals, you can contact Deputy Superintendent Marla Miller at:

Ballots are due no later than 8pm on February 8th.

For people with disabilities, or if you're a senior over the age of 61, you can apply for a property tax reduction. Not everyone over 61 qualifies, but all eligible residents should check their status for this tax exemption program


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