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Archive for February, 2008

4204 Supporters Have Reason to Cheer Again

Posted by Bonnie, 2/22/08

After what turned into a somewhat depressing Election Night last November, I spent two days accepting that we had lost Simple Majority.  Few dislike losing as much as I do – but when a loss has a direct negative effect on one million students, it is especially hard.

I think it was on the fourth day that things began to change.  I remember sitting at my computer at 4 p.m. waiting patiently for Pierce, Snohomish and King counties to update their vote totals. By 4:15 p.m. suddenly we were winning – and man did it feel fantastic. I never thought I could match the excitement I felt that afternoon. I was wrong.

This past Tuesday, 127 school levies were up for election statewide. But this time it was very different. The levy elections are now like the majority of elections we have, needing 50 percent plus one to pass rather than the old, unfair supermajority requirement. The results are pretty incredible. As of today, 122 of these levies are passing.

Here are the results separated by approval rate to show how the results might have looked under the old supermajority requirement:

Approval rate

Number of School Levies

Percentage of Total

49% and below

5

3.9%

50%-59%

68

53.5%

60% and above

54

42.4%

As you can see, it would have been an entirely different story under the old barrier. An additional 53.5 percent of school levies statewide would have failed. Even more compelling, this group of 68 levies adds up to more than $485 million.  Almost $500 million to help school districts reduce class size, increase professional development for teachers, and purchase new text books … the list goes on.

I admit there were moments during the campaign when I got tired. I phone banked nearly every night for a month straight with a dedicated group of staff and volunteers. We all had moments of exhaustion, but we kept going. Now we see why – and we will continue to see our efforts pay off in future elections. It took a huge amount of collective hard work to pass Simple Majority and we should all feel proud. So, if you talked to a neighbor, picked up the phone, wrote a check, or simply voted to APPROVE 4204, ­- this is your moment to sit back and smile. Your work is changing the lives of one million students statewide.

Thank you!

Posted in: Blog, Elections, Funding

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School Levy Elections Benefit from Simple Majority

Posted by Michael

Hundreds of school levy volunteers are breathing a sigh of relief today.

Last night’s levy results show that the education community’s victory in November is making a huge difference for thousands of students across the state.

While many communities continue to approve their levies at rates above the old 60 percent standard, a large number of levies passed thanks to the new 50 percent simple majority requirement.

School leaders, educators, parents and students in places like Kennewick, Ellensburg, and Centralia will not have to brace themselves for a costly and time consuming second levy attempt.  Instead, they can continue to focus on educating students.

We’ll be holding our breath for close elections around the state, especially in Thurston County where the North Thurston, Rochester and Yelm school districts are hovering just below 50 percent.  Late-arriving ballots do tend to favor school levy elections.

For bond elections, the supermajority requirement continues to thwart our schools.  Only two out of five bond proposals are passing as of Tuesday night.  In Lake Chelan, the bond is passing with just over 61 percent.  This shows that every vote is especially important for school bond elections.

While simple majority saved the day for many school districts, the League of Education Voters is confident school supporters will not take this election for granted. 

And we’ve not lost sight on what’s at stake.

A large part of the success of our state’s students and schools comes from levy funding.  That’s because the state continues to NOT fully fund basic education services.

The League of Education Voters would like to see a new K-12 finance system adopted next year that fully funds basic education and returns levies to their intended purpose of funding school enrichment programs.

Posted in: Blog, Elections, Funding

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