Poulsbo & Beyond

An on-going conversation focused on the community of Poulsbo, fueled by local resident Rich Jacobson.
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Wrong Reasons for Saying ‘No’ to the CKSD Levy

February 4th, 2011 by Rich Jacobson

Writing a guest column in this morning’s issue of the Central Kitsap Reporter, Bremerton WA resident Tamara Gordy offers up her rationale for registering a ‘No’ vote on the current CKSD Capital Projects Levy.

(Ms. Gordy had previously submitted a similar Letter to the Editor for the Kitsap Sun).

For a number of reasons, I’ve been following this proposed levy very closely. I am a resident/homeowner in Central Kitsap; all of my kids have attended Central Kitsap schools (my youngest son Luke is a junior at CK High); and my wife is a teacher at Brownsville Elementary. So obviously, the health and vitality of our local school district is of major concern to me and my family.

And, as such, I am always interested and intrigued with the arguments that local residents offer in opposition to the proposed CKSD Capital Projects Levy. Times are tough, and I can greatly respect/appreciate the fact that people aren’t overly enthusiastic about having more of their hard-earned money taken away, even if it’s for a worthy expense, like public school facilities.

However, in her letter, Tamara Gordy states that, even though she has supported school levies in the past and believes that healthy schools are an investment in our community, the reason she is voting ‘No’ on this Capital Projects Levy is because the Kitsap County Elections Division decided not to mail a printed voter’s guide along with the ballot.

So, if I understand her correctly, the reason Ms. Gordy wants to deny our kids a safe and healthy classroom environment is because the County failed to provide a printed Voter’s Guide pamphlet along with her mailed ballot?

Excuse me? You want to disapprove badly needed repairs and improvements to our local classrooms because of something the County did or didn’t do? You want to jeopardize $31 million dollars of Federal matching funds because you didn’t get a Voter’s Guide? Really?

I don’t know about you, but I rarely vest much of my voting prerogative based on what I read in the Kitsap County Voter’s Guide. Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate that the County puts it together for the general election. But the ballot issues are normally more complex and can’t be easily explained/presented in a short paragraph or two.

Fortunately, the school district has done an admirable job of providing very detailed information on the Capital Projects Levy and presents a very compelling and prudent case for supporting it’s approval.

Whether or not the County should have provided a printed Voter’s Guide along with the mailed ballots is up for debate. But to penalize the safety and welfare of our students and teachers as a result is nothing short of ridiculous.

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7 Responses to “Wrong Reasons for Saying ‘No’ to the CKSD Levy”

  1. Colleen Smidt Says:

    I read Ms Gordy’s column and she has a very valid point when it comes to the districts cost of a special election for a levy versus the district cost for a levy during a regularly scheduled general election. Timing and costs of levy elections really does have a heck of a lot to do with the public’s acceptance and approval overall for the measure at hand.

    Also the $31 million dollars in matching federal funds you reference are taxpayer dollars that still belong to the taxpaying voting public. An important fact that many involved in the education process become less and less mindful of as time goes on. There is no” jeopardizing” pubic money for or by the public. There is only their combined voting decision that they DO or DO NOT want $31 million of their taxpayer dollars spent on this particular levy agenda put forth by the school district.

    While accusing Ms Gordy of a simplistic less than issue specific focus you are doing exactly the same thing by focusing and simplifying only a part of her entire argument for her No vote.

  2. Rich Jacobson Says:

    Colleen: Timing most definitely does have a tremendous bearing on an issue passing or not. Statistics clearly bear that out. I believe that’s why the decision was made to put it on the February ballot. While the costs of a special election may possibly be up for debate, to base one’s decision upon a factor that the district doesn’t control or isn’t responsible for is short sighted, and, as I allude to, ridiculous.

  3. Ian Brock Says:

    I would vote no in a heart beat if i lived in that district.

    Tax money is tax money , too much is already wasted as it is bieng channeled through government buearucrats .

    Public schools are nothing more than a government run monopoly.

    We want our children and grand children to be challenged mentally and

    artistically . unfortunately because it is a monopoly you get neither.

    All you get is mindless drones,obiedient and ignorant of what reality, life , personaly responsibility, really is.

    for all intensive purposes a generation of lost youth.

    let the tax payer decide and place their children into schools that will teach values that most americans need to survive.

    or better yet home school them.

    public school is as bad as,
    leaving your TV to babysit your 4 year old.

    your never know what information its putting into the childs head.

    do you want your child to be a fast food worker? or a successful business man or woman … the choice is yours.

  4. Rich Jacobson Says:

    Ian: If you did live here and were familiar with our district, you would know that it’s most definitely NOT a government-run monopoly. It consists of many skilled and talented people who are committed to making quality education a reality for our kids. It would be nice if our State legislature would provide the funding necessary to operate/maintain our schools, but since that isn’t the case, we must appeal to our local residents to contribute. We’re fortunate here in Central Kitsap to have some of the best schools in the State and that is a reflection on the quality of our teachers, district administration, and the valued support of the parents and area residents.

  5. Colleen Smidt Says:

    “to base one’s decision upon a factor that the district doesn’t control or isn’t responsible for is short sighted, and, as I allude to, ridiculous.”

    Rich, over 80% of the average school district budget is tied to various factors and legislated restrictions, including unfunded and under-funded mandates that the district has no control over and is not responsible for. The district had better dang well know how to be basing their financial decision making around those legally mandated items. The legal and financial ramifications of NOT doing so are staggering to consider. To not obey the law cross’s from ridicules to outright negligent.

    And no, the operational educational system does not HAVE to go after citizens and residents to contribute more. It is simply the easiest means to the end. An end that continues to allow the means or status quo to avoid MATCHING reform, accountability and concessions from those who operate in the system for every additional public dollar that is taxed from residents. An end that allows the legislative body in this State to continue to be let off the hook paying for additional educational expenses that are incurred by the average district so it can continue to do the business of educating our children.

    If as much time, passion and energy that goes into the passage of a levy was turned on both the legislature and the unions, browbeating them and openly exposing and embarrassing them into fixing and reforming education from the INSIDE, THEN we would really start moving towards an improved system of education. Unfortunately the easier temporary band-aid fix of begging, crying and scaring people into voting more money instead of voting for smarter applications of existing money is too shiny, simple and seductive a lure. Its the easy way out for the kids instead of the best way out for the kids.

  6. Renee Says:

    All I know is I can no longer afford to live in CKSD because of this increase in taxes. We originally chose to live in this area because we wanted our kids to have a good education, but you have just voted us out.

  7. Rich Jacobson Says:

    Renee: Good education doesn’t just happen, there are costs involved in that process. It would be nice if our State legislators would make education a higher priority come budget time, but unfortunately, that hasn’t happened. The burden then falls upon us local residents/tax payers. If the increase from this levy alone is making it difficult for you to remain living here, I would suggest that perhaps there are other factors at play. Rates are low, perhaps now would be a good time for you to refinance the loan on your home?

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Everyday CK is an ongoing conversation focused on the community of Central Kitsap, fueled by local resident Rich Jacobson.