School levies needed?

The Kent School District recently sent out an email stating that with approval of the two levies being voted on, district property taxes will go down, down, down. What they didn’t say is that state property taxes will go up, up, up!

When the 2017 legislators decided to fund “Basic education “ to satisfy the McCleary court order, they ultimately ran straight to their favorite ATM – the homeowner property tax. State property tax jumps to $2.70 per assessed thousand or approximately $945 on a $350,000 home for 2018 through 2021. For 2022 and thereafter the rate jumps to $3.60 per thousand, or $1,260 on a $350,000 home.

The state Office of Program Research, which provides information for House committees, projects that state funding for the Kent School District for school year 2017-18 is $8.8 million, 2018-19 it goes to $47.8 million, 2019-20 to $69.4 million and 2020-21 to $74 million.

The McCleary funding is a state swap with local school districts on taxes and school salaries. The funding also provides: $10,000 teacher pay raise, additional money for staff in districts with high cost of living, annual adjustments for inflation, three more teacher workshop days (no school), administration staff $33,000 raise (not a misprint) from $61,752 to $95,000 and classified staff $12,600 raise from $33,297 to $45,912.

The levy vote is Feb. 13. On Feb.14, King County property tax bills arrive. Assessed value on our property increased a whopping $60,000 and will cost a lot more than a couple of hundred dollars in increased taxes. Also, the Kent City Council voted for a $100 property tax increase per year.

With projected state funding to the Kent district jumping by millions every year through 2021, $8.8 million this year to $74 million in 2021, why do they need a levy?

– Dale Brantner

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