School officials, parents push for levy to renovate aging schools

SEATTLE -- Parents lined the streets Monday morning, waving flags to remind voters about Tuesday's special election.

Their focus was a levy that would fund upgrades and renovations at aging schools.

Bagley Elementary School is one of the schools on the list of improvements if the levy passes. The principal says every day, teachers and staff members are faced with the challenges of an old, rundown school.

Inside the school, Ceiling tiles are falling. Janitor's closets are being renovated for offices. A faculty lounge is now a classroom, and some students don't even have proper desks.

"We have students who actually have floor desks, because we don't have enough space to have a meeting area and enough desks for children," said principal Erika Ayer.

Even the staff is running short on space, and are using an old motor home as a makeshift office.

"We love our building, but at the end of the day, it's still an 83-year-old building that needs repairs and improvements," said Ayer.

Bagley is one of 17 Seattle schools that would benefit from a capital levy voters are being asked to approve.

"It's imperative that all children in every Seattle school have the equity of modern buildings," said Ayer.

Overall, the capital levy would bring in $649 million. The district says renovations at Bagley alone would cost $18 million.

The district is also asking voters to approve an operations levy for educational programs and services, including textbooks and classroom supplies, teachers and instructional assistants and bus transportation.

If passed, homeowners with houses valued at $400,00 will pay, on average, about $152 more per year in property taxes.

Voters have approved both of these levies before.

All ballots must be postmarked by Tuesday to be counted.