Resolution Supporting Green and Sustainable Seattle Public Schools by Voting to Approve the Levies
September 16, 2021
WHEREAS, the Seattle School Board, Seattle Public Schools, and community members are prioritizing the projects of the upcoming February 2022 BTA V Levy which will aim to make essential improvements to Buildings, Technology, and Academics, and Athletics; and
WHEREAS, previous BTA levies have provided for funding for many of the support staff and students have needed to participate in remote learning, including increased access to technology and hotspots for remote learning, joint improvements with the City of Seattle to shared and co-owned spaces, and increased compliance for accessibility.
WHEREAS, the Seattle School Board has passed the Transitioning Seattle Public Schools to 100% Clean and Renewable Energy Resolution (2020/2021-18), which has been supported by both the Seattle Education Association and the Martin Luther King County Labor Council,
WHEREAS, Seattle Public Schools estimates an increase in facility energy costs of $3.8 million over the next 15 years as it moves from fossil fuels to standard electricity;
WHEREAS, an intermediate goal of the School Board Resolution is to run on 100% zero-carbon electricity with the combined use of energy from Seattle City Light and renewable energy sources installed on District property no later than 2027 (and the long-term goal is to reach complete transition by 2040),
WHEREAS, recent evidence of climate change has demonstrated a need for schools and other shared access spaces to serves as both warming and cooling centers to provide for community members in events of extreme weather, conditions which are occurring more frequently and with deadly impacts as pollution and carbon emissions increase;
WHEREAS, solar-battery storage options have been identified by the Seattle School Board as a means of providing access to community hubs during excessive weather, power outages, or times when community shelter is needed;
WHEREAS, the health and safety of students, schools, and communities, now more than ever relies upon the quality of our building’s HVAC systems, and these systems required repair prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, but additionally are necessitated to address air quality from pollution and smoke from wildfires;
WHEREAS, the School Board through Resolution 2020-2021-18 adopted a first of its kind standard to support strong labor and community workforce agreements that create employment opportunities in frontline and underserved communities by prioritizing infrastructure investments in the highest needs students and schools through sustainable and energy-efficient means, and this work such as HVAC updates will be completed by qualified craftspeople trained in Mechanical Insulation;
WHEREAS, the Educational Programs and Operations Levy (EP&O) would renew the expiring levy approved in 2019. If approved, the EP&O will fund critical day-to-day operations; pay for teachers’ salaries and support staff, including mental health counselors; continue funding for programs that support SPS students, including child nutrition programs, social-emotional health, and special education; help fund programs including Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the MLK Labor Council will:
- Support the passage of both the Educational Programs and Operations Levy (EP&O) Levy and Buildings, Technology, and Academics/Athletics V Capital Levy (BTA V).
- Help get out the vote for both the Educational Programs and Operations Levy (EP&O) Levy and Buildings, Technology, and Academics/Athletics V Capital Levy (BTA V) to ensure projects are funded for the health and safety of school buildings, students, and communities, and to foster collaborations between Seattle Public Schools, labor partners, and to continue student apprenticeships with partners within the King County Labor Council.
- Encourage the School Board and Seattle Public Schools to include solar panel installation to meet its 2027 goals, specifically in areas where schools can become community hubs through solar battery storage.
- Encourage the School Board and Seattle Public Schools to prioritize HVAC updates and repairs completed by qualified craftspeople trained in Mechanical Insulation to ensure SPS maintains excellent air quality throughout all worksites.
- Encourage the School Board and Seattle Public Schools to prioritize projects that transition SPS to 100% clean and renewable energy in accordance with the 2020/2021-18 Clean Energy Resolution.