Guest Column: Say 'yes' to the yellow signs
By JACK HAMILTON
Central Kitsap Reporter Columnist
January 21, 2011 · Updated 4:00 PM
The yellow signs are out in Central Kitsap and the school district is asking us to consider a capital projects levy again.
But wait, this time there really is a difference. Having learned the lesson from the last failed attempt, the district grown-ups are doing the kids proud this time. The district actually has a very detailed plan, complete with requisite statements of facility problems for each school or support facility and a prioritized list of corrective actions with cost data. The district staff and management have prepared a detailed plan that identifies what needs to be done, why it needs to be done, when it will be completed and what it will cost. What a unique approach for an agency asking to spend taxpayer dollars. If you want to go through the Plan you can review it on the district’s web site (www.cksd.wednet.edu).
With the current fiscal status in Olympia, it is difficult to perceive how the state will make any real commitments over their mandated responsibilities. When it comes to school capital projects, the state is responsible to build buildings but has no responsibility for major maintenance or upgrade. The state approach is what leads us to having schools that are programmed to wear out. The district is trying to correct that failed approach and to provide the continuing maintenance and major upgrades that will extend the life of our schools at minimal cost to the taxpayer. Imagine that, a government agency that is actually trying to get the best bang for our buck. The district is also using best practices to leverage the funds from the levy. Our local $58 million will be bolstered by $31 million in federal and state funds.
This one really is for the kids, but we have the grown-ups who got their act together to thank. The district is treating the taxpayers as equal partners in this effort, another unique approach. Even though it may hurt a bit in these uncertain and tough economic times, failure to support this levy does have a clear and unmistakable negative impact on the ability of the district to provide the quality in education that we demand and that our kids deserve. I am voting “yes” on the district capital projects levy. Please join me in supporting our kids and a district staff that knows how to get the job done correctly.