South Kitsap Bond Preview

South Kitsap voters will be asked to decide March 13 on a proposed $163.2 million school bond to build a second high school, replace the aging South Colby Elementary and pay for major repairs and upgrades to all existing schools. Ballots in the all-mail election must be postmarked by that date.
The amount requested in the bond is by far the largest ever asked of voters in the county and would be the largest school bond passed if approved.

But while those pounding the pavement on behalf of the bond effort feel there is unprecedented support this time around, others are leery of quickly giving their stamp of approval.
District officials say a second high school is needed to allow for a ninth-12th grade configuration and to ease overcrowding, but some fear the district is in for declining enrollment.
With construction costs steadily rising, district officials say the time to build the new high school and upgrade buildings is now. But will Kitsap residents have recovered from the sticker shock of recently released property tax statements, and will they be willing to add to their tax burden by saying “yes” to a proposition nearly three times the largest bond so far approved in this county? ….

Read the complete story Sunday in the Kitsap Sun. Got questions or answers? Join the conversation at “Speaking of South Kitsap.” I’ll be back Tuesday to post your comments.

6 thoughts on “South Kitsap Bond Preview

  1. This paragraph in Sunday’s article is misleading because of its use of the word “measures”:
    “But property owners already strapped with hefty tax increases from measures approved in 2006 for South Kitsap Fire and Rescue, the city of Port Orchard and the Port of Bremerton may balk at saddling themselves with yet another tax hike.”

    “Measures” is a word we use to refer to ballot propositions which seek voter approval.

    Only one of the tax increases following “measures approved in 2006 for” was in fact a “measure” which was “approved in 2006” by the voters.

    The other two were substantial (in the case of the Port of Bremerton, “gigantic” would perhaps be a more appropriate descriptive term than “substantial”), and they were imposed without — repeat without — asking for voter approval.

    People, including those who work in the newspaper industry, need to start getting it right when identifying the reasons for tax increases.

    Voters approved a lid lift for the fire district, but the city council of Port Orchard and the commissioners of the Port of Bremerton are solely responsible for the big property tax increases they imposed.

  2. We already pay $844 in school taxes; should this bond pass, our school taxes would increase another $692. This is just too much. We’d vote “yes” for a new South Colby Elementary, but with it all lumped into one, we aren’t being given that option. Sorry, we will cast two “no” votes for this bond.

  3. Sorry to ask this here…but…what is the latest on the Port Orchard’s false fronts downtown?

    Were they redone or ripped down?
    Sharon O’Hara

  4. “RG,” being unable to afford the proposed tax increase is a rational basis for a “no” vote. That’s one of the reasons why we are asked to approve it, rather than simply being told to pay it. If at least 60 percent of the people who vote say it’s affordable and necessary, then we all pay it unless some exemption applies.

    I cannot figure out the numbers you gave, though. If you pay $844 this year for the South Kitsap School District maintenance and operations levy, then your assessed value is $401,169 so far as I can tell. The tax rate this year is $2.103853 per $1000 of assessed value.

    If your assessed value is $401,169 this year, and if the estimated bond levy tax rate of $1.33 is used, then your estimated tax for this bond levy in 2008 would be approximately $533.55. You say it would be $692, but that would be true only if your assessed value increases to $520,301, which would be a 29.7 percent increase.

    Am I doing the arithmetic incorrectly, or are you including an estimated 29.7 percent increase in your assessed value for taxes due next year?

    Chris Henry, when trying to figure out RG’s numbers, I looked to see if perhaps your article had incorrect tax rates. It does.

    You used the tax rates for last year in the cases of all but Bainbridge Island. For BI, you used this year’s rates, but you put their M&O levy rate as their bond rate and vice versa.

    You can find the correct, current rates for taxes due in this year at the county assessor’s web page:

    Here are the correct tax rates for this year:

    Bond: $1.569397
    M&O: $1.173943
    Total BI: $2.743340

    Bond: $1.086231
    M&O: $1.749439
    Total NK: $2.835670

    Bond: $0.972364
    M&O: $2.405789
    Total Bremerton: $3.378153

    Bond: $1.475498
    M&O: $1.919977
    Total CK: $3.395475

    Bond: None
    M&O: $2.103853
    Total SK: $2.103853

    Of course, tax rates would ordinarily decline for taxes due next year, but just to give a sort of “ballpark figure” for comparison, the SK total would be $3.433853 if the additional estimated $1.33 per $1000 were in effect this year.

    Using current tax rates then, the rounded-off total tax rates (including the hypothetical “ballpark” SK number) are:
    $3.43 for SK
    $3.40 for CK
    $3.38 for Bremerton
    $2.84 for NK
    $2.74 for BI

  5. If the SK Bond would increase your school taxes by $692, then you live in a $520,000 (assessed value) home. If your home increases at a modest value of 5% per year, that would be an increase of $26,000 each year.

    Now, if the SK Bond doesn’t pass, one could likely postulate that the value of our homes won’t rise as quickly as neighboring areas (like Gig Harbor) where families will prefer to move in order for their children to have better schools, community access to facilities, and educational opportunities. So, if you take that growth in your home value down by a modest 25% (from 5% to 3.75%). Now your home only grows at $19,500 per year. You lose $6500 each year. With these very modest assumptions, you are giving away $6500 per year in order to save $692 per year. It doesn’t make financial sense to me.

    My home is a bit more of a modest home when compared to yours. It is assessed at $184,220. I currently pay $387 for local schools. When voters decide to “INVEST WITH A YES” on March 13th, I will pay an additional $245 per year. At 5%, my home will appreciate $9211 each year. At 3.75%, it will appreciate only $6908 per year. I would lose $2303 per year.

    This doesn’t even consider the intangible positive benefits of having our students in better learning environments where student achievement will undoubtedly rise.

    In order for our South Kitsap community to grow and thrive, we must be willing to invest in our schools. If we are unwilling to do so, our area will blight as surrounding areas thrive.

    Cost of the SK Bond to you, $692 per year. Return on your investment, $6500 per year. Cost of the SK Bond to me, $245 per year. Return on investment to me, $2302 per year. The value of strong schools building a stronger community… PRICELESS!

    For our South Kitsap Community and our South Kitsap Kids, please Invest with a YES!

    Kathryn Simpson

  6. Kathy
    Don’t consider my home an investment because it is not temporary. Consider it a home. Ability to take care of my family without government help now that is Priceless.

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