Bremerton votes yes for school levy, $7.6 M for expansion and repairs

Voters favoring the $7.6 million capital projects levy for the Bremerton School District were near 60 percent as of Tuesday night’s tally of votes cast during the primary election.

With 4,883 votes counted, 2,916 approved the levy and 1,967 rejected it. A simple majority of 50 percent is needed to pass the levy.

If the levy is approved, $1.9 million would go to district each year from 2013 through 2016. The effect to homeowner’s wallets is an increase in taxes by 61 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value for each of the four years the levy is in effect.

School district officials said the money would be used to expanded the West Hills STEM academy and to replace the roof of Bremerton High School.

Other recommended uses for the money would include technology upgrades and general energy upgrades throughout school facilities.

The last time district officials asked for a taxpayer approved levy increase came in 2010, when voters approved a renewal of a school support levy in the district for years 2010 through 2013. The previous levy won more than a 64 percent margin and supplied funding for the district by more than $10 million per year.

Bremerton School District Superintendent Flip Herndon said he was pleased with Tuesday night’s results.

“So far, it looks like the election results are really positive for us, and we are really excited about that,” Herndon said.

Herndon said projects would be placed on a priority basis since the money would be allocated over a four year time frame with the continuation of the design of the STEM Academy high on the district’s list.

“The STEM addition is one of the major ones that is going to come up first,” Herndon said.

The Bremerton school board on July 12 approved the selection of Rice Fergus Miller of Bremerton as architects for the STEM academy project. The project is estimated by school officials to cost about $2.5 million.

The district approved the plans for the academy before Tuesday’s vote. District officials said they wanted to have conceptual plans ready if future funding became available for the project.

Bremerton School District Finance Director Wayne Lindberg said the STEM academy and the roof replacement would be high on the list.

“We will probably have the high school roof repaired next summer, and we will continue with the design of the STEM project,” Lindberg said.

Lindberg said he felt the vote indicated approval of the district’s use of money.

“It definitely shows that people feel the schools are going in the right direction,” Lindberg said. “We continue to be very fiscally conservative and, as I have said before, we try to provide champagne on a beer budget.”


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