News

Zero hour for CKSD bond vote

(Editor’s note: This is the fifth in a series of articles examining the proposed replacement of four Central Kitsap schools. The district is asking voters to approve a $60 million construction bond Sept. 16 to aid with the costs. State, federal and local funds would be used to replace CK Junior High, Seabeck Elementary, Fairview Junior High and Jackson Park Elementary.)

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Five years of planning, four schools and a $60 million bond for the Central Kitsap School District comes down to one day and one question.

How much is this going to cost?

The proposed replacement of Fairview Junior High, Central Kitsap Junior High, Seabeck Elementary and Jackson Park Elementary would cost $86.3 million with $60 million from bond sales. The remaining balance would be paid with state matching and federal heavy impact funds.

Property owners in the school district can expect to pay an additional 68 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. According to the Kitsap County Assessor’s office, the typical CK home is valued at $156,000. The typical property owner would pay about $106 more a year or $8.83 a month.

Currently, CKSD taxpayers are paying about $2.46 per $1,000 of assessed value on the bond passed in 1992. The owner of that typical home is paying about $383 a year or $31 a month on that bond.

The 1992 bond for $62.5 million included money to build Klahowya Secondary School, Emerald Heights Elementary and PineCrest Elementary. It also helped to improve the district’s technology infrastructure. The 1992 bond also included upgrades to Silverdale Stadium and construction of a Performing Arts Center.

Due to a flat student enrollment and the state’s decline in timber harvests, matching dollars from the state were not in the timeframe of the bond. The projects became delayed and construction costs increased during that time CKSD officials explained.

In 1996 the district sent out 5,000 surveys to the community asking for input on what projects should be a priority.

The Performing Arts Center and Silverdale Stadium were, according to survey results, not at the top of the list. A performing arts theater was made part of Klahowya’s design and is used districtwide.

The 1992 bond retires in 2009. In 2010 the proposed bond’s debt service would increase to $1.47 per $1,000 of assessed value or $229 a year.

“We tried to minimize the impact on taxpayers while paying off the 1992 bonds,” said Gary Powell, the district’s assistant superintendent for business and operations.

For the 2003 bond to pass 7,703 voters of the district’s 32,474 voters are needed to validate the election. Of that 4,622, a 60 percent super majority of the voters must approve it, said Kitsap County Auditor Karen Flynn.

The district decided to go ahead with the Sept.16 election due to a 40-year low in interest rates. The drop would save taxpayers about $7 million in interest. The district has saved about $5 million by funding (refinancing) the 1992 bonds, Powell said.

Currently, interest rates are at about 3.8 percent. The school district has factored in a 1 percent increase in the rate in its calculations, Powell said. Bonds typically have an interest rate of 5-6 percent, he said.

It has not been determined when or how much of the $60 million will be sold if the election is a success.

“We’ll look and see what would give us the lowest rate possible,” Powell said.

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