Returns show voters approving Mercer Island school levy | Update

Replacement educational maintenance and operations measure passed with 71.7 percent of the vote.

Preliminary results of the February special election showed the Mercer Island School District’s replacement educational maintenance and operations levy passing with about 71 percent of the vote.

According to King County Elections, Proposition 1 received a total of 5,608 votes — 3,979 “yes” votes and 1,629 “no” votes — on election day (Feb. 13) and 7,019 at last count before the Reporter’s print deadline for the Feb. 21 issue.

If approved with a simple majority, the replacement levy collects between $11.75 million and $12.75 million per year from 2019 to 2022 for educational programs and services beyond the state’s definition of basic education. It will continue to fund 20 percent of the district’s general fund, including 38 percent of special education funding.

Despite the bump in funding following the McCleary decision, the current state budget will not pay the full cost of special education or many Mercer Island school programs, including the seven-period day at the high school, music, art, PE and Spanish in the elementary schools, or expanded electives at the high school and middle school, according to a fact sheet from the district.

Islanders have been supportive of levies; none have failed in recent history, according to the Yes MI Schools campaign run by the Committee for Mercer Island Public Schools (CMIPS). The levy on the ballot this year replaces one that passed in 2014 with about 77 percent of the vote.

The levy collects $1 per $1,000 of assessed value, and the actual amount collected from residents is based on the number of students enrolled and the amount, per student, allowed by the state. Currently, MISD is allowed to collect $2,500 per student.

Sixteen school districts in King County asked voters to approve levy measures. According to early returns, 22 of 29 levy measures were passing, along with two of the three bond measures.

The election will be certified on Feb. 23. See www.kingcounty.gov/elections for more.

Update: The measure was passing as of Feb. 19, with 71.71 percent of Islanders voting “yes.” The election was certified on Feb. 23, and the levy passed with a 71.69 “yes” vote (5,085 out of 7,093 total votes).

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