Millions of extra money will go toward low-income, most vulnerable students in King County

KING COUNTY — Many of us have been dealing with higher car tabs and property taxes because of Sound Transit 3.

And about a half-billion dollars generated from ST3 will go to Pierce, Snohomish and King counties.

On Monday, the King County Council voted to get the ball rolling on how exactly it will use King County’s portion of $318 million.

The money has to be used on education.

Ahead of Monday's vote, the group MomsRising.org wore yellow hardhats to send a message to council members.

“We are facing a child care crisis of affordability and crisis of space,” Lauren Hipp with MomsRising said.

Hipp says it was stressful finding affordable child care for her 11-month-old and she knows she's not alone.

She’s hoping King County will use the $318 million to build more child care facilities for children under 5.

“When it’s a onetime fund, it makes sense to invest in capital because that will keep growing,” Hipp said.

King County Council Member Rod Dembowski agrees.

“If we can build those capital facilities, it will be a legacy for decades; it's 100% the right thing to do” Dembowski said.

But Dembowski says there are competing needs -- like the growing population of students who have to fight their way out of homelessness.

“I would tell them that I don’t have a house. 'What do you mean you don’t have a house, where do you sleep?' I am like, I do have a house but it’s a shelter,” said former homeless student Trinity Davison.

Washington state saw a 12% spike in homeless students in the 2015-16 school year. About 40,000 homeless students needed help.

Q13 News spoke with former lawmaker Jessyn Farrell, who forced an 11th hour deal in 2015 to move the half-billion dollars of ST3 funds to education.

“I think early learning investment matters but let’s not forget the kids in the K-12 system,” Farrell said.

Farrell would like to see the counties invest in homeless students and helping older students find careers.

The King County Council earmarked the funds to go to those categories but they still have to decide how much will go to each issue.

Hipp just hopes early learning will get most of the money.

“When we talk about outcomes for students and families, early learning is where it’s at,” Hipp said.

The $318 million will be doled out over the next 15 years, starting in 2019.