Even if You Don’t Have Kids in the School District
On April 26, 2022, King County will hold a special election; the ballot will include three levy measures for the Issaquah School District (ISD). I was fortunate to serve on the ISD Levy Development Committee, which had representatives from each school, local business representatives, and community members.
The committee met over two months and discussed the levy springboards presented at length. There were many difficult discussions, knowing we all wanted to do the best for our students and staff and our taxpayers. Ultimately, these springboards were approved to be placed on the ballot by all necessary groups.
It is now up to you, registered voters, to cast your vote. As with any election, making an educated vote is important.
Register to vote or check your voter registration record online. Return ballots by mail (there is no postage cost for mailed ballots in King County) or at any ballot drop box by April 26.
ISD Levy FAQs
What are these levies, and what do they cover?
Renewal EP&O Replacement Levy
The Educational Programs and Operations (EP&O) Levy accounts for just over 15% of the district’s operating budget and allows for continued funding for day-to-day operations of our schools, some of which are mandated but not fully funded by the state. Examples of these day-to-day operations covered under this levy are school nurses and mental health supports; academic programs such as special education, dual language immersion, highly capable, and English language learner; and support services that enable student learning, such as school safety, bus driver salaries, and maintenance and repair of buildings and buses.
Renewal Capital Levy
The Capital (Technology and Construction) Levy allows for 1-to-1 student laptops in grades three through 12 (grades six through 12 students would take laptops to and from school each day, while grades three to five would access them in school only). The levy also provides laptops at a 1-to-2 or 1-to-3 ratio based on grade level for kindergarten through grade two. It also allows for technology to be updated equitably for all schools and classrooms. Additionally, the Capital Levy would allow for the finalization of the fourth comprehensive high school as well as funds to maintain our existing school buildings, including critical safety repairs.
Transportation (School Bus) Levy
The Transportation Levy allows for the purchase of 64 buses when combined with state reimbursement dollars, keeping the current bus fleet aligned with state safety standards and maximizing efficiency to preserve operational dollars.
For more information on the levy measures, visit the ISD website.
Why should all voters care about voting for these levies, regardless of whether they have students in the school district?
These levies not only have an impact on your taxes but also on ISD students and staff. Funding for public education is very complex, and it doesn’t cover everything our students need or that our community wants for our schools. How well we educate our students impacts society as students grow up and become community members, employees, or even our employers. How well we treat and pay our district staff, including providing them with necessary tools and professional development opportunities, impacts our ability to attract and retain high-quality staff.
Regardless of how you vote, please be sure you do. Every voice matters, and every vote counts!
Toni Hunter is an Issaquah Highlands resident. Issaquah Highlands resident Tracie Jones contributed to this article.