Budget & Finance

Washington Schools Reap Ballot Success in Tax Levy Voting

By Andrew Trotter — March 06, 2008 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

It may have passed by the barest of margins last November, but a constitutional amendment in Washington state aimed at making it easier to approve school levies already appears to be having the effect supporters intended.

In the first test of the new rules, voters on Feb. 19 approved more than 50 property-tax-rate measures to fill out school districts’ operating and technology budgets, Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe, the Democrat who chairs the state Senate’s education committee, told the Yakima Herald-Republic.

She said all those measures would have failed under the old rules, which required a 60 percent supermajority vote for passage. The new threshold for passage is 50 percent plus one vote. Of 10 districts in Yakima County that put levies before voters, all won—but only six with at least a 60 percent majority, according to the county auditor’s office.

See Also

See other stories on education issues in Washington. See data on Washington’s public school system.

Back in November, county voters had soundly rejected—by 62 percent to 38 percent—the constitutional amendment that last month allowed the four other districts to emerge as winners. Statewide, the measure passed by just 50.6 percent to 49.4 percent.

The amendment did not affect the 60 percent supermajority required for districts to issue school bonds, for long-term debt.

Not all Washington state districts were successful in passing their tax levies under the new rules. Several districts in Thurston County, for example, failed to break 50 percent of the vote.

Elsewhere in the country, the requirement of a simple majority is far from a guarantee that levy proposals will pass. In Ohio, for example, according to the state education department, voters rejected 88 out of 165 school levy proposals on ballots last week that also included the presidential-primary elections.

After last month’s Washington state outcomes, some editorial writers suggested that voters who generally oppose school tax proposals had been complacent about the narrower margin required and had not turned out to vote.

Voter awareness may be an important factor this spring, because additional levy proposals will be on ballots in special school elections scheduled for this week, April 22, and May 20, according to state election officials.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the March 12, 2008 edition of Education Week

Events

English-Language Learners Webinar Helping English-Learners Through Improved Parent Outreach: Strategies That Work
Communicating with families is key to helping students thrive – and that’s become even more apparent during a pandemic that’s upended student well-being and forced constant logistical changes in schools. Educators should pay particular attention
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Mathematics Webinar
Addressing Unfinished Learning in Math: Providing Tutoring at Scale
Most states as well as the federal government have landed on tutoring as a key strategy to address unfinished learning from the pandemic. Take math, for example. Studies have found that students lost more ground
Content provided by Yup Math Tutoring
Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Budget & Finance Schools Had Plans for Federal Relief Aid. The Delta Variant Upended Them
Districts planned to spend federal funds on HVAC upgrades and new technology—but some are now redirecting money to face the Delta variant.
5 min read
Orchard Knob Middle School Assistant Principal Michael Calloway squirts sanitizer onto students hands as they arrive for the first day of school at Orchard Knob Middle School, in Chattanooga, Tenn., on Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021.
Orchard Knob Middle School Assistant Principal Michael Calloway squirts sanitizer on students' hands as they arrive for the first day of classes at the Chattanooga, Tenn., school.
Robin Rudd/Chattanooga Times Free Press via AP
Budget & Finance Why Failing to Require Masks Could Cost Districts Millions Later
Some insurance providers are threatening to cancel districts' coverage this school year—particularly if they break statewide mask mandates.
9 min read
Image of a dial that assesses problems, dangers, risks, and liabilities.
iStock/Getty
Budget & Finance Will Teachers Get Vaccinated for $1,000?
More and more districts are offering cash to employees who get vaccinated, hoping that the money will help tamp down COVID-19 spread.
6 min read
Image of a dollar bill folded into an upward arrow.
ImagePixel/iStock/Getty
Budget & Finance Opinion Three Tips for Spending COVID-19 Funds in Evidence-Based Ways
If COVID-19 funds targeted for evidence-based practices are going to deliver, it's crucial to be clear on what evidence is actually helpful.
3 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty