Seattle voters will have to choose between two measures on the November ballot that would affect the care and education of the city’s preschool-age children, a King County Superior Court judge ruled on Friday.
Judge Helen L. Halpert decided that I-107, which seeks better wages and training for child-care workers, and a $58 million property tax levy proposed by the City of Seattle for its preschool plan, both address the same subject.
That means that only one of the two measures can pass.
The ruling marks a defeat for the two unions backing I-107: Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 925 and the American Federation of Teachers-Washington (AFT), which sued the city last month, hoping to give voters the chance to approve both measures.
The two unions, which together represent about 1,500 of the city’s 4,500 child-care workers, lobbied city leaders for months to include in their plan better pay and training opportunities for all child-care workers in a variety of settings — not just at the centers the city determines to be high quality.
When the two sides couldn’t reach an agreement, the unions spearheaded a coalition called Yes for Early Success, which collected more than 30,000 signatures to put I-107 on the ballot.
The City Council put both proposals on the ballot, but also took a position against I-107 and voted to consider I-107 as a competing, rather than complementary measure to the levy request.
The Yes for Early Success Coalition is considering whether to appeal.