Precinct map of SKSD bond vote invites theories on bond’s failure

They say a picture is worth 1,000 words.

Tad Sooter, the Kitsap Sun’s business reporter and all ’round data guy, created this interactive graphic map of precinct data from the April 26 South Kitsap School District bond election.

For the second time this year, voters turned down a 30-year $127 million bond to build a second high school and make technology improvements at South Kitsap High School. At least 60 percent approval is required; yes votes amounted to 59.39 percent. The margin in February was even closer.

So close, yet so far.

Bond supporters used precinct data from previous elections in their campaign strategy for the April 26 vote. The data is publicly available on the Kitsap County Elections website for every measure. How an individual votes is not shown, but anyone clicking on the website can see how many yes and no votes there were in each precinct. On Tad’s map, click on each precinct for details of vote tallies.

Looking at the map suggests voters in more rural areas of South Kitsap, Gorst and that odd area off Highway 3 that seems like it should be part of Bremerton don’t affiliate strongly with South Kitsap School District. Whereas, most of the more centrally located precincts that probably have a neighborhood school nearby gave strong support (61 to 65 percent) or very strong support (over 65 percent) to the measure. That’s just my theory of course.

Alternatively or concurrently, there could be an age demographic at work.

Most of the people we heard from who were strongly against the bond were retired people on a fixed income who said they were too tapped out with taxes to add more, among other reasons for opposing the bond. Do these people live in the more rural areas?

And what about relative affluence? Look at the Harper 240 precinct near upscale Southworth hanging out there far from the center of town, though not far from South Colby Elementary, with 65-plus support for the bond.

Sunnyslope 281 precinct, near where the new high school was to be built, was in the 56 to 60 percent range, not quite passing. Nearby precinct 220, encompassing McCormick Woods, was 61 to 65 percent. Across Old Clifton Road, two precincts full of affordable single family homes and probably many young children, hit the 65-plus mark.

It would be interesting to see economic and demographic data overlaid on the voting data. Well, get Tad right on it.

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