In King and Snohomish counties, 14 of 16 districts garnered early support for their levy and bond measures.
Seattle voters were showing strong support for two school levies totaling more than $1 billion, according to partial returns from Tuesday’s special election.
In Seattle, 71 percent of voters supported the three-year, $758.3 million operations levy, and 70 percent supported the $475.3 million capital levy.
The operations levy covers roughly a quarter of Seattle Public Schools’ yearly budget, including teacher salaries, student activities and bus transportation.
The six-year capital levy would help ease overcrowding in the district. A large portion would go toward renovating and opening three elementary schools — E.C. Hughes, Magnolia and Webster — and building an addition at Ingraham High School.
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The capital levy includes $15 million to buy additional property, $13 million for earthquake-safety improvements and $17 million for roof replacements and upgrades at six schools. District officials said earlier this month that about 60 percent of the district’s buildings are more than 50 years old.
Supporters of the measures had expected both to pass, but not by a significant margin, said Greg Wong, president of Schools First, the organization that campaigned for the levies.
Some were concerned about “levy fatigue,” meaning that voters wouldn’t want to approve another tax measure.
“This [the approvals] shows that voters care about education, and even if they have specific concerns, they understand that it’s an investment in our children,” Wong said.
Superintendent Larry Nyland on Tuesday evening praised volunteers and others who helped campaign for the two measures.
If both are approved, the owner of a Seattle home with an assessed value of $450,000 would pay $1,145-$1,172 in local property taxes per year from 2017-2019, an increase of $140 a year compared with 2016.
Across King and Snohomish counties, levy or bond measures were passing in 13 of the other 15 school districts on the ballot.
Tukwila had three separate ballot measures that were passing in early returns. The school district sought a $49.8 million programs-and-operations levy, a $99.16 million building bond and $3.59 million technology levy. Levies require a simple majority to pass.
Mercer Island voters were approving a capital-projects-and-technology levy to raise $38.4 million over six years and a $750,000 transportation levy. Voters in Renton approved a $160 million operations levy and a $155.5 million capital levy.
Federal Way’s $26.4 million technology levy, Auburn’s $177 million operations levy and Fife’s $7.35 technology levy were passing.
Vashon Island’s $26.9 million bond had 53 percent of the vote, which isn’t enough to pass.
Bond measures must receive at least 60 percent approval and a minimum turnout of 40 percent of voters from the last general election.
That bond measure would build a new high-school gym and track and improve school buildings, and was the only measure in King County, save for Seattle’s, that had any opposition.
Measures in six Snohomish County school districts — Arlington, Edmonds, Lake Stevens, Lakewood, Mukilteo and Stanwood-Camano Island — were passing Tuesday evening.
Early returns showed voters rejecting a $47.77 million bond measure for the Sultan School District that would build more classrooms, a new gym and performing-arts center at the high school and replace roofs at the middle and elementary schools.