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City of Spokane: Proposition 1

• Proposition 1: Backers of the proposed Children’s Investment Fund want to attack Spokane’s dismal 29 percent high school dropout rate with a series of programs designed to promote early childhood education and intervention programs.

The six-year levy would raise $5 million annually and cost property owners in the city of Spokane about 35 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. The money would be used to support early childhood learning, abuse and neglect prevention and treatment programs, mentoring programs, and before- and after-school activities.

Studies show students who fail to graduate are more likely to end up in jail, add to the strain on social services and be unemployed.

If approved by voters, the measure calls for creation of an 11-person oversight committee, made up of representatives from different city zones, minority groups and youth, to make spending decisions. Committee members would be appointed by the Spokane mayor and City Council.

Organizations would be awarded grants through a competitive application process.

Supporters argue that the dedicated funding would strengthen the entire community by improving services for kids and, eventually, reversing the city’s high dropout rate.

Critics point to higher property taxes at a time when average household incomes are dropping, and that voters won’t get a chance to weigh in on the effort for at least six years.

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