The passage of Initiative 728 will give schools in our state much needed additional funds without the addition of new taxes. Here is what the following school districts would get in the first five years: Arlington School District would receive an estimated $8.5 million, Darrington would get $1.1 million, Everett would get $31.1 million, Granite Falls $3.7 million, Index $47,000, Lake Stevens $11.2 million, Lakewood $4.1 million, Marysville $19.8 million, Monroe $9.7 million, Mukilteo $23.7 million, Skykomish $0.2 million, Snohomish $14.6 million, Stanwood $9.0 million and Sultan $3.7 million.
How would these funds be used to improve our children’s education? I-728 requires every school district to develop a plan, with public input, for the use of the new funds prior to any money being spent. In addition, I-728 requires school districts to report annually to their communities on how the new funds were used and on the district’s progress in increasing student achievement. Uses could include but are not limited to: Hiring more teachers to reduce class size (Washington has the third worst teacher-to-student ratio in the nation), construction of additional classrooms, increased teacher training, and investment in early childhood education.
How can I-728 accomplish this without raising taxes? I-728 would use three sources of existing revenue. First, unrestricted lottery proceeds would be directed toward schools instead of to the general fund. Second, I-728 would recover state property taxes – that cannot be spent because of the Initiative 601 spending limit – and return these dollars to local school districts. Finally, I-728 would require tax money collected in excess of what is needed for the state’s emergency reserve fund to be spent on our schools.
I urge everyone to support our children on Nov. 7 by voting yes on Initiative 728.
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