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Show me the money
If Bob Bentley and Bob Ramsey had a theme song, it would be the score from Mission: Impossible. The two are the front men for Friends of CK, the lobbying group out to convince Central Kitsap voters that if they pass a six-year capital projects levy, the money will be put to good use.
Armed with facts, figures and a list of the districts capital needs, the two have spent the last few months talking to anyone and everyone. They keep their message as basic as they can, Bentley said. If the capital projects levy passes in the special election set for May 17, the school district will receive the same amount of property taxes for every home that it currently receives $2.39 for every $1,000 of the homes value.
Both men, just for the record, are home-owners in Central Kitsap and are willing to pay for the capital projects levy.
Its important to me, said Bentley, who is a product of the CK school system. Schools are important to me. Its my way to give back. Somebody long before me did this to make sure I had quality schools.
The two have legions of helpers to get the word out. There are teams of parents, teachers and overall supporters making phone calls and ringing on doorbells all over Central Kitsap.
And according to John Birch, the treasurer of Friends of CK, some are lending their support with their pocketbooks.
All of the school board members, Superintendent Greg Lynch, former school spokesperson Jeanne Schultze and several of the districts cabinet members have made cash contributions ranging from $50-$100, according to paperwork Birch filed with the state Public Disclosure Commission. Several school PTAs, like Brownsville and Emerald Heights elementary schools and Central Kitsap High School, have made contributions to the cause, as well.
Funds also are coming in from outside of Kitsap. Seattle construction companies Beresford Co., Control Contractors Inc. and Robinson Co. have each given $100.
Tacoma construction firms Scott and Fromme Co., Leo Finnegan Construction gave $100 each while Hultz-BHU-Cross Inc. gave $250.
Birch said he wrote letters to the firms asking for contributions because the firms have histories of being supportive of school bonds and levies.
Doug Nugent with Scott and Fromme Co. said it is part of his companys mission to support education.
Whenever we are asked to help out education, we always do, Nugent said.
If the capital projects levy passes, in the tax years 2006-2009, about $2.13 per $1,000 of assessed value will go to pay the districts current debt, while the rest will be tucked away for capital projects. That is expected to raise about $1.2 million each year for capital projects. In 2010, the existing debt payment will be about $1.92 per $1,000 of assessed value, with the rest about $2.4 million going for capital projects. In 2011, about $9.8 million of the taxes raised will go to capital projects about $1.79 per $1,000 of assessed value. That year, 2011, is the year the district will pay of its current debt. The current debt will be paid regardless of whether the capital projects levy passes.
The current levy proposal is projected to raise about $17 million in local tax money that will be earmarked for construction projects between 2006-11. The district anticipates about $11 million in state matching funds and $29 million in federal heavy impact funds, which would combine for about $57 million for renovations and new construction.
If the capital projects levy passes, it will create a six-year capital projects levy cycle, which means the district will ask for a new one every six years to fund the districts capital needs.
The capital projects levies, however, are not the same as the maintenance and operation levies. Maintenance and operations levies are typically four-year measures that pay for the districts day-to-day operations. This year is the third year of a four-year maintenance and operations levy, which means the district is anticipating asking the voters for another four-year maintenance and operations levy in 2006.
For now, however, the focus is on May 17.
That all the money raised by the proposed levy will go directly to construction a levy does not accrue interest is one of Friends of CKs selling points for the levy.
On this, Friends of CK and the district are on the same page.
We delayed a lot of projects so we could go to a levy, said Gary Powell, the assistant superintendent of business and operations for CKSD. Every district in the state would love to have the option to go to a levy instead of a bond because 100 percent of the funds go for school repair or construction, as opposed to up to two-