Proposition 1 will help connect more kids to education after high school so they can compete for the 740,000 job openings projected in our state over the next five years.

Share story

Seattle voters can make a game-changing choice for education in Seattle by voting yes on Proposition 1, the Families, Education, Preschool and Promise Levy.

Imagine a city with high-quality, accessible preschool and free community college. Imagine a city that provides significant financial relief to students and parents of both toddlers and college students. Seattle’s Proposition 1 will give Seattle kids something to aspire to and Seattle businesses the workforce they need to keep our economy strong for future generations.

Evidence shows that investing resources in children during the first five years of their lives is a better investment than directing them to adults. The expiring Seattle Preschool levy established a sliding-scale program that now serves 1,500 children a year. Renewal of this levy means that up to 14,000 children will benefit from Seattle’s high-quality preschool over the next seven years.

Beyond the benefits of early learning, Proposition 1 also addresses the emotional challenges some students face by providing counseling and behavioral-health services for underprivileged and at-risk students at every grade level and age. In Seattle, more than 30 percent of low-income students and 25 percent of students of color do not graduate from high school. Renewing this levy means funding for after- and out-of-school activities and programs that give extra help to the children who need it most, targeting high-risk kids to keep them from dropping out. It also adds $4.2 million to address the needs of homeless students in Seattle.

Finally, Proposition 1 will help connect more kids to education after high school so they can compete for the 740,000 job openings projected in our state over the next five years — 70 percent of which will require a post-high school credential. Proposition 1 offers Seattle Public Schools graduates scholarships to attend community college, in addition to programs that help students attain training or education to make them job ready.

As leaders of the business community and labor movement, we know that a strong economy cannot leave behind the poor, the working-class and families of color. We may not always see eye-to-eye, but one thing we can all agree on is that investments in high-quality and effective preschool, K-12 education and college will build sustainable economic opportunity for our young people.

The good news is that the levy replaces two existing levies. The owner of a Seattle home with a median value of $665,000 would see only a slight increase in cost — about $9 a month. This is a cost-effective investment. Research from Nobel Prize-winning economist Dr. James Heckman has found the rate of return on investment in early-childhood development for many children can be 13 percent per child, per year, due to improved outcomes in education, health, sociability and economic productivity. As before, there will be an oversight committee to track the levy’s progress and ensure accountability through data sharing, as well as robust monitoring and evaluation.

Let’s use our votes and voices to give more children in Seattle the opportunity to learn and thrive at a young age, and become responsible adults who make positive contributions to our community. Please join us and vote yes to approve Proposition 1.