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It's official! School bond vote will be Sept. 16

The Central Kitsap School Board answered the $60 million question.

On Wednesday, during a meeting at the Jenne Wright Administration building, the board voted to move forward with a construction bond election set for the September primary ballot.

“Seeing the condition our buildings are in, this is the right thing to do,” said Christy Cathcart CK board member following the unanimous 5-0 vote.

The measure asking voters to approve $60 million in bonds would be voted on Sept. 16.

But Cathcart also had concerns about the timing of the bond, which was originally planned for 2004.

“Do we have time to get the issue across to the voters,” she asked.

CK Schools Superintendent Cathy Davidson said a comprehensive educational package about the bond will be given to the public.

So far the public has been supportive with 76 percent of people in a random phone survey saying they would vote yes for the measure.

Board member Carl Johnson cautioned that opposition to the bond will emerge and be quite vocal.

If approved by more than 60 percent of the voters, the funds would be used with state matching funds and federal heavy impact funds to replace two junior high schools and two elementary schools.

The election would be validated against the 2002 general election. It is not clear yet whether the primary will be an all-mail ballot or not, Kitsap County elections officials said Thursday.

According to the proposal reviewed at the board’s regular meeting, Fairview Junior High would be replaced because the 32-year-old building no longer meets the district’s educational goals. CK Junior High, Jackson Park Elementary and Seabeck Elementary are outdated and need replacing.

The current Fairview building would be renovated to possibly include the district’s special education services, career and technical education services, alternative programs and administration. That project would not be funded by bond money.

“In my bedroom, I found seven electrical outlets. Some of our school’s rooms are lucky to have two outlets,” Cathcart said.

Placing the measure on the September ballot could also save taxpayers $7 million in interest due to a 50-year interest rate low, said Gary Powell, the district’s assistant superintendent for business and operations.

“It’s like getting Seabeck Elementary for free,” Cathcart pointed out.

If approved, the bond measure would cost taxpayers $.50-$.65 more a year per $1,000 of valuation. The increase would be between $80-$104 based on the average home value in the CKSD of $160,000.

Added to the existing bond debt (not currently scheduled to be paid off until 2011) the average homeowner would then pay about $3 a year per $1,000 of assessed valuation to retire the total bond debt.

Community activist Hank Mann-Sykes was one of about 30 audience members on Wednesday night.

“The first thing people think about when they move to the area are the schools. This is an investment,” Mann-Sykes said.

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