School Bonds & Levies: It’s Not “For the Children”

We already know that public schools are inundated with far-left ideology. I pray for teachers who are feeling the pressure to hide their common sense ideas for fear of losing their jobs.

But the public schools are doing more than that here in Washington and especially in my district, the Everett School District, which encompasses Mill Creek and some unincorporated areas. They’re working with the union to take more and more of your tax dollars. While I’m writing from the view of an Everett School District (ESD) resident, I know that neighboring districts, like Northshore, have people in the fight against their levies as well. The “how” of obtaining our hard-earned tax dollars is detailed and it took me several weeks to truly understand how it has been done in the ESD. I’ll do my best to explain this simply.

We start with the McCleary Decision which determined that the state, and not a local levy, is to fully fund basic education. The state teachers’ union (the WEA) has stated that they endorsed and fully support the McCleary decision. So, now our property tax bill shows a “state school tax.” In Everett, it shows State School 1 and State School 2. The taxes you pay in those categories go to the district in which you live. A lot of people don’t understand that. Many are under the impression that it goes into some kind of shared pot and gets distributed throughout the state. That is not correct. It goes to YOUR district in total. More than 65% of your property tax dollars go to fund the public schools.

This state school tax is not enough to feed the hungry union beast. The local unions demand higher and higher salaries to the point that the district’s budget cannot cover it and the district complains to the legislature that the state has not met the requirements of the McCleary decision to fully fund education. The Everett School District has won this race to the top of the salary scale.  

In 2018, the Everett School Board approved a contract that gave teachers an 18% raise in one year. There’s nothing wrong with having well-paid teachers, but with this contract, median teacher total compensation reached over $150,000 (some teachers make over $200,000). The median salary for Mill Creek residents is $103,000. Some of the most affluent areas in the district reach $133,000 median salaries (median salaries by zip code is available online). There was very little the public knew or could do about the contract, since the board approved it on a consent agenda (a sort of package agenda item that includes no discussion). Mere weeks after approving the contract in 2018, the Board was informed that the district did not have the funds to meet their contractual obligation. Only by begging the legislature for more funds did the District avert insolvency. Problem solved for that contract.

In summer 2021, the Board, again on a consent agenda, approved another contract with a significant raise that includes an agreement for yet another raise in 2 years based on inflation. That’s right. Two raises with one contract and, since the next raise is based on inflation, we don’t even know how much that raise will be. It’s a blank check.

Did the District’s budget grow enough between 2018 and 2021 to meet the obligation of two more raises promised in this new contract?

I present to you the “replacement” EP&O levy up for vote in February. Please don’t be fooled by the tired old line “It’s for the children.” The taxes collected with this new levy will be dumped into the general fund from which compensation is paid. More than 85% of the budget goes toward compensation. Without this levy, the District will not be lamenting the inability to fund student programs. They’ll be scrambling to meet its contractual obligation … again. And we’re not just talking about the highest teacher pay in the state (higher than more affluent districts like Mercer Island). Our Superintendent makes nearly twice what the Governor makes (over $300,000). We also have four Vice Superintendents, all of which make over $250,000 total compensation. ESD has less than 20,000 students. Seattle has more than 50,000 students and has only two Deputy Superintendents.

If you live in the Everett School District, vote no on this levy. The Board works for the union and not for the constituents that elected them. See this video of the most recent Board meeting where the union president thanked the Board for the “best contract in the state” by bringing them cake to show them love. While they’re having their cake and eating it, too, taxpayers are being taxed out of their homes. For honest cost analysis, visit www.nolevy.com.

If you live in a different school district with a levy on the ballot, email Jeff at toomuch@nolevy.com. He can give you more information on how your district is spending your hard-earned tax dollars. He’s also on the con committee for 30 school districts’ levies throughout the state.

There are fewer and fewer unions remaining for the Left to squeeze taxes out of us. The public school system is one of their last stands and they’re using our money to indoctrinate our kids against our traditional values.

*By Jeannie Magdua

Jeannie is a CLW Founding Member, Teacher, and was a 2021 ESD School Director Candidate