School starts Aug. 31 for most in NKSD

The North Kitsap School District is starting its year next week as students in grades 1-12 will have their first day Aug. 31.

Kindergarten will start the following week Sept. 6. There will be no changes to school hours this year.

NKSD communications coordinator Jenn Markaryan said the reason for the earlier start this year is calendar committee guidelines recommend beginning after Labor Day if it falls between Sept. 1-4 and before Labor Day if it falls between Sept. 5-7.

As of Aug. 16, the district had 5,247 students enrolled, a number that will continue to increase as school approaches, Markaryan said. There are 360 teachers in the district, with 35 being hired this year.

Facilities work took place over the summer, such as new turf at Strawberry Fields. Other work included HVAC replacement at Vinland Elementary; track & field and tennis improvements at both North Kitsap and Kingston high schools; technology upgrades and security improvements across the district; and architect and master planning for the future.

Markaryan said approximately $10 million in Capital Project work is being completed this summer. Voters approved a levy in 2018 to pay for the work.

In April, the district approved the purchase of 21 acres in the vicinity of Slippery Pig Way and Cedar Lane to the west of Finn Hill Road. The cost was $4.5 million out of the Capital Projects fund. School board documents say the property would be “well suited for additional long-term school district facility needs.”

Per documents, the property was recently combined from the efforts of a land and property developer to further progress the property for up to 83 housing units. The property is outside the Poulsbo city limits but inside the Poulsbo Urban Growth Area. Zoning in this area and further to the west toward Highway 3 will likely become part of future growth for Poulsbo.

The property will need to be appraised, and the proposed agreement is contingent on the school district’s acceptance of the appraisal, documents state. Similar tracts of land near Vinland Elementary have recently sold for a higher price and other land appraisals with similar characteristics have had similar value per acre.

Further, the agreement is also contingent upon a feasibility study performed by a land consultant to ensure various attributes, including land use, utilities, access, critical area, site characteristics, and other qualities of the property. For development of a school, there would be further access development required to connect to Finn Hill Road.

The property also has two small houses that provide a small amount of rental revenue between property purchase and further future development for school facility use.

“It is too soon to have any details on possible new schools at this time,” Markaryan said. “This is a decision that will need to be made by voters, as the state does not fund new construction.”