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Central Kisap school levy narrowly passing

Although the preliminary count had the Central Kitsap School District’s supplemental levy failing, subsequent counts show the measure worth $7.6 million to district coffers narrowly passing.

From a Feb. 16 update, those favoring the levy were winning by 54 votes with 50.17 percent supporting and 49.83 percent opposing it. More than 15,000 voters turned out for the special election held on Feb. 14. The next count update was scheduled for 5 p.m. Feb. 23.

If approved, the levy would bring in $7.6 million to the school district in a two-year period beginning in 2013. Even with additional money that a supplemental levy may bring in, the school district faces a $6.3 million budget shortfall for the 2012 - 2013 school year.

Following January’s community budget forums, the district gathered parent and community feedback on which school programs or items could be cut, if need be.

With no decisions final, the school district continues to seek input from parents, students, staff and other members of the community.

An online survey, available on the school district’s website, continues to gather more information from the community on the budget process. The survey began Tuesday and is scheduled to run through Monday.

Most people do not want to see anything cut next school year because every reduction will affect someone.

“We’d rather lose a part of something than all of something,” the district financ e director David McVicker said last Thursday at a Central Kitsap School Board special session meeting. The meeting was to discuss the information gathered from the January budget forums.

A total of 452 people attended three community budget forums that allowed people to give input on what items — out of a list of 31 not funded or partially funded items by the state — they would prefer be saved from cuts or reductions.

The data summary from the community as well as staff meetings show that the library program has the overall top ranking followed by co-curricular, technology, elementary class size, learning specialist and secondary staffing. At the bottom of the list — items with least priority, according to the data — were district administrative support, mentoring and diversity.

Superintendent Greg Lynch said, after talking with secondary school counselors, that some groups of students were not represented by their parents or anyone at the community meetings to “speak up” for them, especially at-risk students.

“Their point was, some of the students that need the help, their parents weren’t there to vote,” Lynch said.

Board member Christy Cathcart agreed that it is not the district or board’s place to speak directly for those specific groups absent, but that their needs still need consideration.

“We can’t ignore that there are specific needs that need to be addressed,” she said.

According to the Analytic Hierarchy Process criteria, a rating list that weighs in board scores, the top ranked five items include co-curricular, learning specialist, at-risk, secondary interventions and all-day kindergarten.

After reviewing additional survey data, options will be presented mid-March followed by another set of community and staff budget forums. Lynch said the district will need to have “a good idea” where they will be headed by the beginning of April since they have a contractual obligation to let staff know of any reductions in May.

Although any possible cuts or reductions will affect the upcoming school year, some are emphasizing the need to not just look at the immediate future.

“We need to position ourselves to move forward and not just recover,” said board member Eric Greene.

 

Central Kitsap School District online budget survey is available at: www.cksd.wednet.edu

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