Bremerton School District voters have a quick turn around from the general election to prepare for another vote after the board authorized a newly proposed levy and bond for the Feb. 13, 2024 ballot.
The directors voted in favor of putting forward a $150 million, 25-year bond and an EP&O levy at its Nov. 9 meeting, marking the first time in nearly 20 years that a bond will go to the voters.
The bond seeks to replace the current EP&O levy, as well as its capital levy passed in 2020. Both expire at the end of 2024 and are said to bring in $3.06 per $1,000 of assessed property value in their final year.
“Our schools are the heart of our Bremerton community,” superintendent James Crawford said. “These buildings and the learning that happens here facilitate lifelong memories, and I am thankful for the board’s commitment to rebuilding and reimagining the future of our schools.”
The capital bond eyes the complete replacement of facilities the district says have outlived their useful life.
High-priority projects have been identified as the replacement of Armin Jahr and View Ridge elementary schools, the replacement/relocation of Renaissance High School and replacing other consolidated facilities. A need to upgrade heating, ventilation and air conditioning district-wide is also outlined.
The new levy would continue to provide funding for a number of staff and extracurricular activities such as athletics, music and theater. The district’s 2023-24 budget is 15% funded by the current EP&O levy.
Taking into account recent economic trends of escalating home values, the district says the measures actually will still cut the tax rate.
The proposed levy would tax property owners at $2.95 per $1,000 at valuation—$1.89 per thousand for the levy and the remaining $1.06 for the bond. Based on a $400,000 home value, the cost would be around $98 per month. For the same value of home, the previous cost was about $1,224 a year, or about $102 a month.
”Remarkably, we have structured this in a way that decreases our tax rate,” Crawford said. “We are investing in our children’s futures, enhancing their learning environments, and ensuring our community thrives, all while honoring our promise of fiscal responsibility and lowering the tax burden on our citizens.”