Letter: Support CK school plan

Central Kitsap School District has put forward a capital projects bond issue to proceed with the Long Range Capital Projects Plan Phase 2.

Central Kitsap School District has put forward a capital projects bond issue to proceed with the Long Range Capital Projects Plan Phase 2.

In all fairness to the tax payers, a good review of past performance is in order. The levy for phase 1 of the long range plan was adopted in 2012. Recognizing the shortfalls and errors made in presenting the plan the first time (and having it soundly rejected), the school board made a much better effort to clearly define the work to be accomplished under the plan and the schedule for completion. The taxpayers, properly informed and having a basis to determine compliance, approved the levy and authorized work under the 2012-2016 phase of the Capital Projects Plan.

Now, after four years, it is clearly evident that the district has done exactly what it promised and has done so on time and under budget. The long list of projects in phase 1, (81 projects in 19 schools and two facilities) with the replacement of Jackson Park Elementary as the major element, is nearing completion. In addition to finishing the capital projects in the plan, the district has done an excellent job handing all of the preventive maintenance tasks necessary to keep all of the facilities operating properly.

Of further note is that the unexpected loss of Heavy Impact funds from the federal government (an issue still under appeal) resulted in about $25 million not being available to complete the planned projects.

The district wisely concentrated on the learning facilities projects and delayed the commencement of the transportation/food service warehouse construction project. (The recent announcement that a part of the withheld impact funds will be restored should reduce the total bond issue by about $10 million.) The district also remained highly flexible and completed major technology updates to the infrastructure systems and introduced enhanced technology learning systems to the classrooms. The school district has performed as promised and established a first-rate team that is ready to move on to capital projects phase 2.

If you are interested in why I am so positive in my endorsement of the district, the answer is simple. Recognizing the difficulties associated with taxpayer awareness of actual details in a capital projects plan and realizing that internal review would not be sufficient, the district established a citizen panel of construction, facilities maintenance, finance and technology professionals to review the actual plan progress and to make comment and recommendation regarding risk assessment and mitigation and public communication. I was asked to serve on that panel and have participated in a review of the program each quarter for the past four years. The members of the citizens’ panel asked the hard questions and demanded the proper answers on your behalf. My appreciation of the district effort under the 2012-2016 levy and capital projects phase 1 effort is simple – “Promises Made, Promises Kept.” Now it is time for all of us forward with approval of the bond measure and execution of capital projects phase 2.

— Jack Hamilton, Silverdale.