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Bremerton school levy scheduled
Bremerton voters will be asked to decide whether or not to approve a $7.6 million capital projects levy for the Bremerton School District on Aug. 7.
Resolution 2011/12-14 looks to raise money for major repairs and improvements of multiple schools in the Bremerton School District.
The money would be used towards replacing or upgrading the district’s central kitchen and expanding the West Hills STEM academy. Other recommended uses for the money would include technology upgrades and general energy upgrades throughout school buildings.
If passed, the levy would inject $1.9 million per year of funding into the district from 2013 through 2016 and would increase taxes by 61 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value for each of the four years the levy is in effect.
The last time district officials asked for funding from taxpayers was in 2010 when voters approved a renewal of a school support levy in the district for years 2010 through 2013. The previous levy was approved by voters by more than a 64 percent margin and supplied funding for the district by more than $10 million per year.
Community members expressed mixed feelings involving the current levy vote placed before taxpayers.
Doris Carender, a retiree living in the district, said she supported the best possible education in the district, but felt that officials in the district should learn to work within existing budgets instead of placing a further burden on already strapped taxpayers.
“They do not consider those who are hurting right now,” she said. “Our tax rates keep going up every year. My husband and I are both retired and on a fixed income, and it hurts.”
Geri Jordan owns and manages multiple properties in the school district. She said education was among the most important uses of tax money.
“I support the levy,” she said. “I think the improvements are needed.”
District officials have expressed understanding of taxpayers’ concerns involved in asking for funding, but stated the money is needed in the district.
Flip Herndon, superintendent for the district, said he could not persuade voters one way or the other on the levy, but felt the voters would make the right decision on Aug. 7.
“We just want to make sure voters have an opportunity to have their say on the matter,” he said.
Voters can vote by mail, but those who do not wish to can return ballots 24 hours a day beginning July 20 with final drop off at 8 p.m. at the Sylvan Way Library and the Norm Dicks Government Center.