Bainbridge school levy measures passing; Rolfes and Inslee headed for re-electionNovember 2nd, 2010 by tristan baurick
The two Bainbridge school levy measures were passing by healthy margins on Tuesday night.
Early returns showed the technology levy passing with 54.65 percent of the vote, and the operations levy lid lift passing with 60.64 percent.
Bainbridge’s Jay Inslee appears headed for another term in Congress. He was besting his Republican challenger, James Watkins, with 56 percent of the vote.
Rep. Christine Rolfes was beating fellow islander James Olsen to retain her state House seat. She had 55 percent to Olsen’s 44.8 percent.
Longtime Bainbridge attorney was in a tight battle with Supreme Court Justice Richard Sanders on Tuesday night. Wiggins had 49.15 percent, Sanders had 50.85 percent.
See more Kitsap Sun election coverage HERE.
Read my story about the school measures below.
Bainbridge voters gave strong support to two school levy measures on election night.
The $5.275 technology levy had 54.7 percent of the vote while the $825,000 operations levy lid lift was drawing 60.6 percent, according to preliminary returns released shortly after 8 p.m. on Tuesday.
“We’re just absolutely thrilled,” said Julie Yunt, co-chair of the Bainbridge Island Public Schools Supporters, a group that championed the measures. “We’re so happy Bainbridge Island has chosen to support our kids.”
Totaling $6.1 million, the measures equal the soon-to-expire 2006 tech levy. School leaders have stressed to voters over the last four months that passing the two measures would effectively keep taxes the same.
There had been some concern that hard economic times could dampen voter support.
“I think a key reason that didn’t happen was because (the measures) represent a continuation, and that they did not represent a tax increase,” Superintendent Faith Chapel said on Tuesday night.
Apart from a few roadside signs, the measures drew little opposition.
Yunt was confident voters would support the measures.
“No, I wasn’t surprised (by the election returns),” she said. “Bu it’s always good to get that affirmation.”
The tech levy would upgrade or replace computers and related equipment purchased with the 2006 levy.
The levy would also be used to purchase new computer software and equipment for science and writing lessons.
With computer technology undergoing rapid change, much of the equipment purchased over the last four years needs to be replaced, Chapel said.
School officials opted to decrease the tech levy renewal amount to make room for funds that could be raised by a recent state-approved levy lid lift measure. Under the new law, schools can temporarily raise the amount sought through operations levies.
The “levy lid law” allowed Bainbridge to increase its levy by $625,000 next year and $200,000 in 2012.
The district’s most recent voter-approved spending measures include February’s operations levy, which will generate $8.3 million next year, and a $42 million capital bond that was passed last year. The bond was aimed at replacing Wilkes Elementary and making districtwide building improvements.
Despite the influx of levy and bond funding, the district has cut spending by about 13 percent over the last two years.