At long last, an election item that crosses the aisle.
Whether conservative or liberal, libertartian or progressive, Democrat, Republican or Independent, the upcoming North Kitsap School District levies are propositions that we can all get behind and vote an overwhelming ”yes.”
The levies are not new taxes, but rather replacements for an expiring bond and a current levy. The Educational Programs and Operations levy (at approximately $1.50 per $1,000 assessed value) funds areas inadequately covered by the state funding formula, such as transportation, special education, classroom supplies and texts, extracurricular activities and athletics and basic utilities including power, water and sewage.
The Capital Projects levy (at $1.26 per $1,000 assessed value) will allow for many deferred maintenance projects to be completed, including roof replacements. It will also cover heating and ventilation replacements, fire alarm upgrades and installation of various security upgrades. Finally, the Capital Projects levy will provide for technology upgrades and replacements of aging computers in classrooms.
Why would/should voters of all persuasions approve these levy measures? First, because we care that our children and grandchildren should have secure and safe schools. Second, because we want students of today to be able to compete in job markets of tomorrow. And third, because we want our part of Kitsap County to continue to be viewed as a desirable place to live (think property values).
Schools don’t often get good press; the public doesn’t often see and hear the exceptional learning that goes on in North Kitsap Schools. But it is there — there in the quality of instruction, the high expectations required of students, the long hours of dedicated service by staff and in the many ways in which staff support children and families. Anyone who spends even 30 minutes in a classroom or school, on the busses or in the maintenance facility will understand how fortunate the North Kitsap community is with its schools. But that level of excellence can only be achieved if there are adequate funds going forward.
I urge every eligible voter to vote yes on both levy measures and mail your ballot back before the Feb. 13 deadline.