Tacoma Education Tax Levy goes to voters Feb. 13

Pierce County Schools are asking voters to approve education levies in a special election.

The February 13th special election in Pierce County is around the corner. The ballot includes two education levies for Tacoma. If approved it would be a renewal of levies that are already in place: The Technology Improvements and Upgrades Levy and the Education Program and Operation Levy.

"The very first technology levy we ever had was in 2014, and that was to replace outdated student computers. We're trying to be more aggressive this time and make sure technology gets to all of the school,” said Tacoma Public Schools spokesperson Dan Vopel.

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Schools use the funding to operate programs like the Afterschool Technology Program at Gray Middle School, where kids get to use 3D printers and design and create things like cell phone cases.

Natsai Burns, a 7th grade student, says the program has opened her mind to what she can do in technology

"Last year once I started getting into it, I can see this as a future career,” she said, “Not every kid gets to do this, so I'm special.”

But there has been confusion among Tacoma residents.

"My feeling was we are double taxed," said Dimitry Marushak.

Their concern: Wasn't McCleary supposed to make the state pay for public education?

"This year has been much more difficult than ever before to try to explain education funding in Washington," said Vopel.

Tacoma Public Schools says technology upgrades doesn't fit into the state's description of basic education. McCleary pays for stuff like school supplies and teacher salaries.

"Despite the McCleary lawsuit there was never an intention that local levies would go away they would be less of a factor," said Vopel

If approved, the levy would go from $4.59 to $3.52 per household.