SK Bond Supporters Promise Comeback

Supporters of South Kitsap School District’s proposed $163.2 million bond were stunned into silence by preliminary results showing 48.22 percent of voters against the measure. The number voting “yes” was 51.48; the bond needed 60 percent to pass.
Several in the group said they’d like to see the bond run again at the soonest opportunity.


The mood was festive Tuesday night at the Clubhouse at McCormick Woods, where a group of parents, school district personnel and community members had gathered to see results of the election posted on the Kitsap County auditor’s Web site.
Jay Rosapepe was making the rounds of the crowd, taking bets on the outcome of the election, which, had it passed, would have been the first bond approved by South Kitsap voters in nearly 20 years (the last successful bond was in 1988; bond measures in 1993 and 1996 failed).
“62 even,” said Patty Jorgenson, a member of South Kitsap School Supporters, the group that in weeks before the March 13 election, organized pro-bond rallys at street corners throughout South Kitsap.
“I’m gonna go 61.3,” said her husband Brent.
South Kitsap School District Superintendent Bev Cheney was even more optimistic. She guessed the bond would pass with a 70 percent approval rate.
Cheney said the feedback she’s gotten about the bond has been largely positive, and she has been impressed with the efforts of bond supporters in educating the community.
“I’m just so positive,” she said before the results were posted. “You look at the enthusiasm in this room. These people have been living and dreaming this.”
But their dream went down in flames.
Jim Civilla, unofficial numbers cruncher of South Kitsap School Supporters, figured, based on the district’s most recent levy election, that Tuesday’s numbers would have needed to be 59.5 percent “yes” to “have a chance” of the bond passing.
So now the school board goes back to the drawing board. And they’re not wasting any time about it. The board will hold a work study meeting at 6 p.m. at the district office to discuss “future facilities planning.” The prearranged meeting was to have been the kick-off for implementation of the bond, which would have built a second high school, replaced South Colby Elementary and provided maintenance and improvements at all other schools.
The board and school bond supporters are now tasked with figuring out where to wring enough “yes” votes out of the community to tip the scales in the district’s favor.
School board member Keith Garten said he anticipates the bond could run again as soon as May.
Dick Davis, who earlier in the evening had talked about “going back to retirement where I belong,” vowed, if the board decides to run the bond again, his group will reinvigorate their efforts.
“As far as I’m concerned, this is not the end of the road,” Davis said. “This is the beginning of the next road. I’m not embarassed. I’m not hurt, but I’m also not giving up.”

11 thoughts on “SK Bond Supporters Promise Comeback

  1. Sometimes I just don’t *get* the community.

    The numbers were clear, the reasons apparent, and the “Invest With A Yes” crowd did a great job getting the message out. I was certain that the bond would not only pass, but pass with a comfortable margin.

    It just seems so obvious that the high school has been over-crowded for years and dilapidated South Colby Elementary isn’t going to heal itself.

  2. What the heck do they expect? I got a $300
    increase in my property tax just 2 days before I
    received my mail ballot.
    Where is the rathole they’re pouring all this
    money into? I’d like to get at the bottom of it and maybe get some of it back.

  3. The failure of the SK school bond was a victim of bad timing. The Port of Bremerton tax increase of 147% took the wind out of the sails of many who would normally vote in favor of the school bond. My property tax increased $400.00 this year as a result of this unjust measure. Any more increase would deflate my fixed income budget. I know many others who are also on fixed income felt the same way. I say the Port of Bremerton stole needed monies from the children of Kitsap County.
    Shame on the Port of Bremerton.

  4. I’m pretty bummed out this morning reading the news, but what can ya do. I have two kids in grade school, and the thought of them going to that huge high school (the same over-crowded one I went to 20 years ago, only now it’s worse) just makes me cringe. WE NEED IT, folks.

    The only reason I think it didn’t pass, well the major reason, was because of the cost. My parents figured out it would be an increase of $400/year on their taxes. Although they knew it would benefit the children of South Kitsap, and voted to accept the bond proposal, they admitted that if they didn’t have kids in the district, they might not have. It’s just a lot of money, and for people on small, tight incomes, it’s a lot.

    I wish there was a way the state would help more…. It’s a lot for a community to scrape up.

    I give a huge THANK YOU to all the people that supported this bond, and all their efforts. I share in their sadness today.

  5. The comments by Al Yen and Tom Wright illustrate the problems that the school districts all face. As more and more of the population moves into the retirement age and fixed incomes, coupled with fewer grand parents with kids in the local school system, they are not going to be willing to add to their tax burdens. What the school districts need to concentrate on is change to the way Washington state funds education. Making education fully funded at the state level is key to equality in education in all school districts. Well that is a difficult program to sell also, quality education is too important to rely on local bond issues.

  6. Wow,

    This is absolutely ridiculous. I can’t believe people are so selfish. I am sure these people that complain about the $$ have cable, cell phones, and dine out now and then. Let alone the people that vote no and go to the bar or liquor store during the week. What this vote comes down to is people’s priorities.

    Also, just to be perfectly clear, there will be a new high school built. It is not a matter of if, but when. It costs us all more to wait. Procrastination only leads to inefficiency. If this would have been passed 10 years ago, we probably would have all been celebrating our taxes going down after the bond was paid off.

    These anti-government, anti-tax people need to realize that education is one of the things that make this country the greatest in the world. It takes money to have an education system. And, it is worth every penny.

    I support the schools 100% and support re-running the initiative until it passes. The sooner this passes, the sooner we can start saving money, and begin enjoying better support for all of our children.

    Yes voters…please keep going. We are only defeated when we quit. We need to educate the no voters better by:

    1. Stating what it will cost to wait?

    2. Pictures of the Cedar Heights bathrooms.

    3. Pictures of the decay, and disrepair, at Colby.

    4. A canvas visit to all 8000, or so, no voters just to ask them why not.

    After all, education will make the difference!

  7. I am very disappointed with the results. Granted, my daughter is only 8 months old and anything can happen! The current situation at South Kitsap High needs to be taken care of. The question that remains is: How do we do it? If we have to, we’ll buckle down and send her to a private high school….something that will not be necessary if our community can come together and find a solution that works.

  8. Joel, lets talk about selfish for a minute. Some of us have worked and payed taxes, including school levies, for 40 years in South Kitsap county. Now you call us selfish for having cable, phones and a dinner out. And oh my God, a beer. If I were you I would look up selfish. In fact to make it easier for you, look in the mirror. A lot of us have done our share and do not deserve the name calling for having different priorties than you have.

  9. I agree with Joel that education does make a difference. That is exactly why over 8000 people voted NO.

    You can try to put any spin on it you wish but there are too many about building a new high school.

    Since there seem to be a lot of people who are willing to pay the extra taxes why doesn’t the school board open an account at a local bank for people to donate the money to? Then maybe the school board can continue to purchase more land for future schools instead of spending the money to maintain the schools we have.

  10. Travis,

    We don’t get money to “maintain our schools” unless the local taxpayers approve it via a bond or a levy.

    Building maintenance and construction has long been the responsibility of local taxpayers. The state only contributes to construction costs AFTER local voters approve local funds to do the bulk of the project(s). Even then, the state doesn’t guarantee funds until well into the process.

    That is why we asked the taxpayers to “front-fund” the bond and when the state contributed it’s portion, it would have immediately paid down the debt while saving us from having costly construction delays as we waited for the state (and saved our local taxpayers a lot of money!).

    I welcome increased questioning of what we proposed and will need to propose again in the future. Perhaps then people will really understand how well done this proposal was and how conscientious SKSD is in what we are asking for to help us improve student achievement.

    If we want something better for our kids than we had, we have to be willing to INVEST WITH A YES!

    And, YES, some taxes are worth it!

    Regards,
    Kathryn Simpson

  11. I’ve so disappointed it didn’t pass. My kids attend Burley Glenwood, built about 30 years ago. Every time it rains they say the roof leaks in their classrooms. My son says water ruined his teacher’s papers one day and dripped on the overhead. My daughter days they had to put a pan in her classroom to catch the rain.

    Wonderful learning environment.

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