Initial election results indicate King County voters have shown strong support for the six-year Best Starts for Kids levy in the primary election on Tuesday, Aug. 3. The measure is passing with about 59% of county residents in favor of renewing the levy.
Best Starts for Kids, which was initially passed in 2015, provides critical support to more than half a million children and their families. The initiative and its renewal were both led by King County Executive Dow Constantine and his administration.
If passed, the renewal would cost the owner of a median-priced home in the county about $114 a year.
There was no formal opposition to the measure.
“Every child in King County deserves the opportunity to grow up healthy and happy,” Constantine said during a recent Zoom presentation. “Every child deserves the opportunity to thrive.”
Through the initial levy, he said, the county has been able to prevent homelessness for more than 10,000 youth and families. The county has also partnered with community organizations to create school-based health centers, he said.
In the last several years, more than 11,000 young people received outside-of-school learning time through the levy. According to Constantine, the renewal plans to invest in more out-of-school programs for students ages 5 through 12 and transitional programs for those moving toward adulthood.
The renewal also creates a new subsidy to ensure affordable child care for more than 3,000 low-income families, he said.
“By renewing Best Starts, we are maintaining and expanding these critical programs that support kids as they grow,” Constantine said.
According to Northshore School Board Director Sandy Hayes, the levy funds the addition of mental health counselors and screening processes to all six middle schools in Northshore School District.
“We don't have funding from the state,” Hayes said. “As we enter the post-COVID world, our students are desperately going to need that mental health support.”