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Seattle gets peek at new Families and Education Levy

Kids participate in a preschool program funded by the Families & Education Levy
Seattle Office for Education
Kids participate in a preschool program funded by the Families and Education Levy

It’s been less than a month since the last election, and already Seattle officials are unveiling a measure for next fall’s ballot.  This week, the public will get its first glimpse at the next Families and Education Levy.

The initiative funds programs for students and is set to expire next year.  City leaders say the new levy will help more kids succeed – if adults are willing to pay up. 

The proposal comes after hundreds of people at dozens of forums across the city shared their hopes and concerns for Seattle’s youth.  The result?  If voters renew the funding, the city will continue many of the programs that have been successful under the last levy, things like health centers in middle and high schools and early learning programs. 

But city officials say they’ve taken a new approach to what the outcome of these efforts should be.

“The main thing that’s different is the goal that all students in Seattle graduate from high school college and career ready,” says Gerard “Sid” Sidorowicz, of the city’s education office.

When the initiative was first created by former Mayor Norm Rice, it was simply to help kids be "safe, healthy and ready to learn."  To accomplish the lofty, new goals, the next levy would extend instruction time for struggling students and pair them with academic advisors. 

Programs would also be more targeted to students who need the most help, such as English Language Learners. That’s if voters can stomach another tax increase.  The effort would cost at least $20 million a year. 


Families and Education Levy Information Fairs:

Tuesday, November 30th
6:00 - 8:00 pm
New Holly Gathering Hall
7054 32nd Ave S

Thursday, December 2nd
6:00 - 8:00 pm
Meadowbrook Community Center, Multipurpose Room
10517 35th Ave NE