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Voters support schools; states should do more

This opinion piece was written by LEV Board member Thelma Jackson and originally appeared on February 27, 2013 in The Olympian.

As voters continue to support their local schools, the state must step up and share responsibility.

Fifty-three local school boards went to voters asking for more than $1.7 billion in levies for their schools in this February’s special election. Communities responded with overwhelming support to these requests, passing all but one levy, and most by a large margin. In a time of rhetoric about how voters are unwilling to support education through revenue, this election stands in stark contrast.

In fact, voters approved more than 98 percent of local levies across the state, committing $1.7 billion in taxes to their schools. When voters pass these levies, they know their money is going directly to helping children, providing necessary services to help students get an excellent education.

In many school districts, local levies make up 25 percent or more of the total operating costs of a district. In my North Thurston district, it’s 21 percent. These local dollars often pay for necessary school costs like staff salaries, textbooks, or a sixth period in school—a far cry from the “extras” they were originally intended to provide.

Read more here.

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