Starting in 2019 Seattle Schools will face tough budget decisions
Thanks to a nearly $1 billion investment following the McCleary decision, Seattle schools are temporarily well funded. However, starting in 2019 the State will cap local property tax levies, resulting in a net loss of revenues to Seattle schools and cuts to teachers and programs. Coupled with the overcrowding of our schools from unregulated growth, the loss of funding would be disastrous to the quality of our schools. To ensure that all Seattle students continue to receive high-quality education, we must utilize impact fees.
We must implement a system of impact fees that developers pay as a small percentage at permitting. Impact fees are authorized by the Growth Management Act to pay for infrastructure to accommodate growth. Seattle schools have been growing steadily by nearly 1,000 students a year since 2010, and classrooms are very overcrowded, but school construction has not kept pace. Seattle needs to do what 80 other Washington cities do: collect modest developer impact fees and use them for infrastructure. Growth must fund growth.
The city could help fund school capacity as new family size homes are developed (both low-income and single-family). This is the responsible way to keep up with growth and would correlate to increases in student population. As your Seattle City Councilmember, I will advocate for high-quality education for all of our Seattle students. I will work for financially responsible solutions that provide both a quality education and a balanced bottom line.