NKSD moving quickly to place levy on Nov. 5 ballot

Detailed proposal will be brought to school board in July

Following North Kitsap School District’s $242 million, 20-year bond proposal that was rejected with nearly 64% voting against the measure in the February special election, the Facility Advisory Committee is moving quickly in efforts to place a capital levy on the Nov. 5 general election ballot.

The cost and number of years for the levy have not been finalized yet but will be completed and brought forward as a resolution presented at the July 25 school board meeting for approval. In order for the levy to appear on the ballot, the district is required to pass a resolution along with ballot language to Kitsap County by Aug. 6.

“Passage of a capital levy would allow for continued infrastructure improvements over the short term as well as continued technology expenditures to support the work of the district,” school board documents read.

The previously proposed bond, which required 60% approval to pass, would have rebuilt Wolfle Elementary; rebuilt Pearson Elementary at a new location; included additions at Gordon and Poulsbo elementaries, along with Poulsbo Middle School (phase 2); upgraded Kingston Middle School; improved North Kitsap and Kingston high schools’ baseball/softball fields and athletic facilities; and make district-wide safety improvements and critical repairs. Since Suquamish Elementary was not included in the bond proposal, the Suquamish Tribe did not endorse it.

In response to the bond failure, the district created a process to add members to the FAC, engage with Bassetti Architects Firm to lead and facilitate the work of the FAC, and also update the condition assessment for each building in the district, documents state.

Additionally, NKSD has re-engaged with Flo Analytics to update the demographic study that was completed in the fall of 2022. Specifically, the district requested that Flo Analytics be certain to have responses from all pertinent participants to ensure the most accurate report possible, per documents. FAC work began in late April and is ongoing. The committee has met at school buildings to receive tours of existing facilities, de-briefed the 2024 bond results, reviewed building condition assessments, and reviewed levy and bond information.

“We have to make this investment in our facilities to make sure that we have effective and safe learning environments for our students but also for the staff that are working in it,” board president Mike Desmond said. “I think it’s safe to say that’s probably questionable right now in some of our facilities. I think that’s a reasonable ask for our community.”

Scott Henden, who spoke during public comments at the June 27 school board meeting, said he recently attended some of the FAC meetings and many in the district are blaming the bond failure solely on former superintendent Laurynn Evans who resigned after she was charged with a misdemeanor for removing or defacing political signs that were opposed to the measure.

“Really, the tone of the message was ‘they are gone, now you got to trust us,’” he said, referring to Evans. “That leaves me with a couple conclusions; one is either the board, staff and consultants didn’t ask, didn’t know and didn’t follow up with the right questions, or they were complicit with what happened. Where’s the trust? For me, I’m not ready to say ‘oh, I trust you because that one person is gone.’”

In 2022, voters passed a four-year levy of over $108 million for education programs/operations and capital projects. The capital levy included a tax collection rate of $1.10 per $1,000 in assessed value in 2023-24, compared to $0.33 in 2025 and $0.25 in 2026. The EPO levy is funding an additional building to PMS and slated gym improvements at Suquamish Elementary, among other projects. The tax collection rate is $1.45 per $1,000 of assessed value in 2023, $1.38 in 2024, $1.32 in 2025 and $1.25 in 2026.