Voters approve levy by landslide

By late evening on Tuesday, March 12, enthusiasm among Central Kitsap School District staff members and pro-levy volunteers ran high.

The district claimed its highest level of support for a levy in a decade in results released by the Kitsap County Auditor’s Office.

“It is the highest first-return number that we have had in 10 years,” district spokeswoman Jeanie Schulze said.

By the time the final ballot count was released Thursday, March 14, the pro-levy tally was up to 66.02 percent. Just 14,643 people — 44.04 percent of registered voters in Central Kitsap — cast ballots, according to Dolores Gilmore, elections manager for the Kitsap County Auditor’s Office.

“We are absolutely delighted. We are exited and appreciate the parent and community support for the school district,” Superintendent Cathy Davidson said.

Levy advocates and school officials who gathered in the Kitsap County Courthouse Tuesday night credited good communication with constituents and steadily improving student achievement.

“We didn’t wait until levy time to communicate with the community,” said Bob VanDenburgh, president of the Central Kitsap School Board. “The communication lines were already open, and that was key.”

Nick Nelson, chairman of the pro-levy Central Kitsap Citizens for Quality Education committee, said he was pleased with the group’s campaign. He added the vote reflected an understanding of the importance of public education.

“The leaders of tomorrow need to be educated today, and it is our responsibility to promote an environment where they can flourish,” Nelson said.

The levy will cost local land owners $2.83 per $1,000 of assessed property value for four years.

“This allows the district to retain 20 percent of our operating budget, which is the levy itself plus state and federal matching funds,” said Cheryl Brown, president of the Central Kitsap Education Association teachers’ union. “As we see budget cuts from the state level, this is very good news for the Central Kitsap School District.”

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