By Eric Stevick For the Enterprise
Voters gave a big boost to local schools Tuesday despite a down economy.
School district operations levies were passing in Edmonds and Everett, providing about one-fifth of their day-to-day operations budgets for the next four years. Levies need only a simple majority.
Local officials said the levies have become increasingly important because the Legislature again could cut state education spending as it grapples with a $2.6 billion shortfall.
In Edmonds, the operations levy in the district of 33 schools and about 20,000 students was passing by a wide margin.
“We are just so deeply appreciative of the support of the community,” Superintendent Nick Brossoit said.
Andy Simonsen, president of the Citizens for Schools levy committee, said more than 300 volunteers made roughly 15,000 phone calls over a 13-day period in support of the ballot proposal.
“It really did make a difference,” said the father of two elementary school students. “We weren’t sure how people would feel in these tough economic times but we got the message out that this is a continuation of a tax and that was important.
“I really feel the momentum was there and the message we got from the voters is they believe in education in the Edmonds School District.”
In Everett, the operations levy and a six-year building repair and technology levy also were passing easily.
“We’re happy,” said Ed Petersen, the Everett School Board president. “It is quite a statement that the public is willing to tax themselves in this environment. It sends a powerful message to the Legislature that the public values public education highly.”
While operations levies were passing across Snohomish County, voters were less eager to build schools in tough times.
A bond measure in Marysville was falling short of the 60 percent supermajority required by state law, while a $149.2 million bond was passing but too close to call in Northshore.
“We are delighted for the levy and disappointed for the bond,” Marysville Superintendent Larry Nyland said.
Eric Stevick writes for the Herald of Everett.