CKSD board candidate running on love for schools

Gaines -
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Central Kitsap School District Board of Directors member Carl Johnson will not run for reelection to the board and two Silverdale residents will face off for the position, including Mark Gaines.

Gaines, an assistant construction engineer for the state Department of Transportation and member of the Olympic College Engineering Advisory Committee, has been volunteering with the school district since 1993. He has worked with students after school as a mentor and has coached community basketball and soccer. He and his wife, who was working for the school district when they met in 1994, have two children in the second grade at Silver Ridge Elementary School.

Gaines said he has respect for Johnson and his time on the board.

“I appreciate Carl Johnson and the work he has done,” he said.

Overall, Gaines said he has been pleased with the district’s performance as well as the job individual schools within the district have done. Taking into account the economy and the effect it has had on schools and districts nationwide, he said CKSD could be in a much less enviable position than it is.

“It could be worse,” he said. “We could be dealing with the issues taking place in Kent.”

The biggest issue Gaines said he sees with the district is inconsistency, especially when it comes to all-day kindergarten. Some schools in the district require parents to pay for this option, while others offer the classes for free.

“A policy like this needs to be consistent,” he said.

Gaines said the role of the board and its members is that of checks and balances for the superintendent’s office and, in that capacity, they have done a great job. The item he feels the board failed on was not putting two levies, one for school support and one for capital projects, on the February 2010 ballot. The board decided instead to run only the school support levy even though the community finance committee made the recommendation to place both up for a vote.

“I find fault with their logic,” he said. “The committee did a lot of work, putting in hundreds of hours of research to make a recommendation to the board.”

Gaines said he felt the reasons given by those who opposed both levies being placed on the ballot were unfounded and not based on the research done by the committee.

In a board meeting Sept. 9, board member Christy Cathcart said she thought people would not approve both levies because of the individual cost of each.

“ ... what you focus on is $1.44 or $2.53,” she said Sept. 9. “Which causes less pain to your wallet?”

Gaines said the finance committee’s research showed the opposite to be true. Since the current levy would have expired as payments were to begin on the proposed levies, homeowners would have seen no difference in their property taxes. However, if taxpayers vote to approve one levy now, they will see a slight drop in their taxes, making it harder to persuade them to raise taxes again in a future vote.

Gaines considers himself level-headed and said his experience building bridges will help him a great deal as a board member.

“I consider myself a problem solver,” he said. “This will allow me to ask good questions on data given to the board by the district.”

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