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Central Kitsap School District’s levy measure passing
Just after 8 p.m. Tuesday, Greg Lynch walked toward the center of the Olympic High School library still wearing his Bluetooth earpiece and wrote down a number on a poster board. The number was less than 50 percent. The room of Central Kitsap School District officials, board members and supporters sat silently.
Then the word “No” was added next to the percentage by the Central Kitsap School District superintendent. The room lit up, levy supporters rose to their feet and cheered. The initial count had the district’s capital projects levy passing.
“We owe a great deal of thanks to the community who support the Central Kitsap School District,” Lynch said. “Running this at this point in time will help the community in the next five years.”
After a second count by the Kitsap County Auditor’s Office Wednesday evening, 52.75 percent of voters approved the levy while 47.25 percent rejected it. A simple majority is needed for the levy to pass.
The $58 million from the capital projects levy will be raised through property taxes beginning next year over five years. The money will be spent on renovations, a new school for Jackson Park Elementary students as well as technology upgrades at all schools.
The election will be certified Feb. 23 and ballots will be counted through Feb. 22, said Dolores Gilmore, elections manager with the county Auditor’s Office.
The county Auditor’s Office originally expected a 40 to 45 percent voter turnout, which is the norm for a special election, Gilmore said. The turnout Wednesday evening was 15,219 voters or 41.11 percent. The office had 340 ballots in challenge status, which meant a voter forgot to sign or there was an unknown signature match, she added.
A complaint had been lodged that voters were unable to read an elections guide on the county website without entering personal information. However, special elections do not include a voters guide, Gilmore said, adding that registered voters needed to enter their name and birthdate in order to verify their account to view their ballot. For non-registered voters who wanted to view the levy measure, there was a sample ballot that was accessible without providing any personal information, she said.
With a majority of voters saying “yes” to the levy, supporters continue to have faith that the district will operate the projects wisely.
“We owe the community a lot of gratitude,” said Bob Ramsay, co-chair of the levy support group, CK Kids Matter. In a time of economic hardship, it is significant that the community came together to support the school district, Ramsay added.
For a home valued at $250,000, there will be a $5.63 per month property tax increase with the approval of the levy. The average assessed value of a home in the Central Kitsap School District is $255,130, according to the county Assessor’s Office. With the levy’s approval, the district will qualify to receive an additional $31 million in state and federal dollars, totaling $89 million for the projects. Repairs and construction will occur across the district and include the replacement of Jackson Park, renovation of Silverdale Elementary School and the relocation and consolidation of transportation, food services, science kit center, media center and warehouse.
“We’re just going to follow the plan we submitted to the community,” Lynch said. The district will provide residents with the progress of construction projects including whether they are on time and on budget, he said. This will be communicated through the district’s facilities website, electronic and parent newsletters, he added.
“We owe them a report card of our work,” he said.