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Realtors urge 'yes' vote on Kent school levies | Seattle King County Realtors
Realtors unanimously voted to join other supporters of two levies for the Kent School District, and pledged assistance for a get out the vote campaign for the Feb. 11 election.
The funding requests, for four years, replace expiring levies for educational programs, operations and technology.
The endorsement followed a presentation about the measure and discussion with members of the association’s Governmental & Public Affairs Committee.
Kent businessman and City Council members Jim Berrios and Thuan Nguyen, the district’s assistant superintendent and chief digital strategy officer, met with the Realtors to discuss the proposals.
Sam Pace, a realtor with Executive Real Estate and a housing specialist for SKCR, said the quality of schools is often the first thing homebuyers ask about.
“Buyers know that good schools not only help to define communities, they also support higher home values,” Pace said. “It’s not just families with school-age kids that are concerned about the quality of schools when buying a home. Savvy buyers know that quality schools will be a factor in the sales price when it’s time to sell.”
In considering endorsement requests, Realtors look beyond statements of need, Christensen explained. Track records on academics and fiscal matters are also reviewed, he said.
Kent’s use of technology to improve student learning and its innovations in curriculum contributed to the favorable endorsement, Christensen said. He noted awards from the Center for Digital Education, Microsoft, the Consortium for School Networking, and other organizations.
Realtors also commended the district – the fourth largest in the state – for offering innovative programs for its increasingly diverse population, including iGrad, Kinder to College, and Medical Careers Pathways.
“School districts need to be mindful of employability standards,” Christensen said. “Kent is identifying and addressing emerging needs with an impressive choice of options.”
If approved, the operations levy would provide up to 24 percent of the district’s annual operational revenue, and support a broad range of programs and services, including extracurricular activities, arts programs, library and school bus services, improvements for safety and security, and more. It would raise from $67 million to $82.3 million during the four-year term of the levy, costing taxpayers from $3.82 to $4.92 per $1,000 assessed valuation.
The Seattle King County Realtors, with approximately 5,000 members, is a local board of the National Association of REALTORS.