The Select Committee on Families, Education, Preschool and Promise Levy unanimously voted to advance to Full Council a proposed ordinance to continue the City of Seattle’s investments across the education spectrum. If approved, the levy will expand quality preschool classrooms, continue investments in K-12, and establish tuition subsidies and support for college or post-secondary job training. In addition, it sets aside funds for wraparound education and health services, such as four new student health centers, dedicated resources for students experiencing homelessness, and funding to grow teacher diversity in our classrooms.
The proposed ordinance will go before the full City Council on Monday, June 18 at 2:00 p.m.
At a Glance – The proposed Families, Education, Preschool and Promise Levy would:
- Expand access to preschool by nearly 1,000 children per year by the 2025-26 school year to serve a total of 15,000 three and four year olds;
- Continue K-12 and community-based investments, including funding four new student health centers, students experiencing homelessness and increasing teacher diversity in our classrooms; and,
- Create the Seattle Promise to allow public high school graduates to attend Seattle Colleges to obtain a college or postsecondary degree.
The proposed levy, totaling $637.8 million over seven years, dedicates 54 percent of the dollars toward preschool and early learning. Expanding access to high quality early learning is a research-proven strategy to help close the school-readiness gap. Over the span of the 7-year levy, Seattle will have served 15,000 children in preschool classrooms.
“The renewal and expansion of the education levy is an unrelenting commitment to ensure all of our children receive a quality education, have the resources to succeed, and graduate from high school with opportunities for college and career,” said Council President Bruce Harrell (District 2, South Seattle). “I want to thank our residents for their support in closing the opportunity gap in Seattle schools and creating more equitable communities. When our students succeed, our communities thrive, and our economy prospers.”
“Supporting the educational achievement of all children is one of the single most important investments the City of Seattle can make. This renewed and enhanced levy represents critical and strategic investments that will transform the lives of Seattle’s children beginning with quality preschool and ending with college access and support. This levy also recognizes the impacts of our affordability challenges by providing resources to support the estimated 4,280 students in Seattle Public Schools experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity,” said Councilmember M. Lorena González (Position 9, Citywide), and co-chair of the FEPP Committee. “Our past levy investments have made a measurable difference in reducing the readiness and opportunity gap. This proposed levy continues many of those evidence-based investments, which means more of our kids will graduate and be prepared for post-secondary education with the skills necessary to take advantage of the jobs of tomorrow.”
Nearly 29 percent of the levy would go toward K-12 investments, improving graduation rates, especially for students who are impacted by the opportunity gap.
“As a father of three school-aged children, I know first-hand the importance of investments in early education and grade school classrooms” said Councilmember Rob Johnson (District 4, Northeast Seattle) and co-chair of the FEPP Committee. “I feel proud that this levy represents a strong continuum for our students, from preschool through their 14th year, that it reflects feedback we heard from community members, and that it continues this levy’s history of investing in research and evidence based strategies to help our students succeed.”
“Investing in our earliest of learners — and the workforce that cares for them and teaches them — ensures we have a resilient economy, encourages equity through closing opportunity gaps and promotes healthy communities,” said Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda (Position 8, Citywide). “Families across this City are experiencing long waitlists, long commute times and increasingly expensive childcare. Through this levy, we increase the number of better trained educators for our children ages 0-3, investing in the long-term health and stability of our community.”
Health programs would account for 11 percent. The final six percent would go to the Seattle Promise, which proposes tuition assistance to graduating Seattle students attending local community colleges for the first two years.
Seattle first passed a seven-year education levy in 1990. It was renewed again in 1997, 2004 and 2011. In 2014, voters also approved a four-year preschool program levy. History of education levies in Seattle. The Families, Education, Preschool and Promise Levy combines the traditional education levy with the preschool levy, and expands it.
Seattle residents living in a median-priced home pay $136 per year for the two existing levies. With this new levy, those same residents will pay $248 per year. Low-income seniors, people with disabilities and veterans will be eligible for exemptions.
The passage of this levy follows robust community engagement. The levy was first considered in the Gender Equity, Safe Communities, New Americans and Education Committee in February. Following, the Select Committee on FEPP held six committee meetings, beginning on March 26, and two public hearings.
To download a full resolution PDF of the infographic, click here.