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Teaching Profession

Washington School Tax Referendum: It’s Not Over Until All the Votes Are Counted

By Michele McNeil — November 15, 2007 1 min read

While most of the education fuss on Election Day last week was over the voucher referendum in Utah, there was another significant, state-level referendum, this one in Washington State where results are still, a week later, neck-and-neck.

Although many believed a referendum that would have made it easier for school districts to get property-tax levies approved by voters had failed, days later, we find out differently. As of Election Night, according to the story, the measure was trailing by a seemingly formidable 38,000 votes—what was thought to be a somewhat comfortable lead. But late votes, including mail-in ballots, have tipped the scales toward victory for referendum supporters—at least for now. You can monitor the results as the rest of the votes are tallied and later certified on the state’s website.

This would count as another victory for teachers’ unions, including the National Education Association, which got involved in raising money and volunteers to pass the referendum. The referendum is important to teachers because it would relax the standard for approving district property-tax levies by requiring a simple majority of votes, and not a 60 percent “super-majority.” These levies, according to media reports, make up about 17 percent of district budgets -- and that’s where teacher salaries come from.

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