Kitsap County Budget in the News

As part of our ongoing coverage of Kitsap County’s budget, we’ve run two stories this week related to county officials’ scramble to achieve a balanced budget in 2008.

On Monday, we ran a story about the roots of Kitsap County’s budget crisis, covering who knew what when and what they did about. Many of you have already found this story and commented on it.

Today, we have a story on county medical benefits contracts approved at yesterday’s commissioners’ meeting that will save the county more than $800,000 (contracts with three additional bargaining units could bring that amount to around $1 million). To achieve that savings, union reps agreed on and employees voted for adjustments, including higher out-of-pocket costs (although premiums will not go up). Their incentive: Save some of the 40 jobs on the chopping block for next year. Commissioner Steve Bauer has called it an unprecedented gesture of cooperation between labor and administration.

If you are a county employee, tell us how adjustments in medical benefits will affect your family.

In a story later this week, we’ll drop the other shoe and talk about the possibility of a tax hike. But here’s a sneak preview: Commissioner Josh Brown says it will not come in 2008. During the upcoming year, Brown said, the county will be all about living within its budget. When and if a tax hike is put on the ballot will be up to citizens, who can decide if they want to increase services the county provides, Brown said.

And a little farther down the road, we’ll talk about property taxes, covering how county officials determine your home’s value and where your money goes.

Let me know what you’d like to know and we’ll do our best to find out.

4 thoughts on “Kitsap County Budget in the News

  1. Chris…I would like to know how the school district spends tax dollars AND the direct benefit of each and how they did with their projections.

    I’d like to know how their teachers are paid…and which teachers are paid more on performance.
    I DON”T mean to add in a second job of coach to the main job of teaching science.

    I’d like to see a one year budget extended out five years with an explanation.

    I would like to know the background of school board members ie: parent, teacher, teachers union representative and involvement in the teachers union and so on….

    I would like to see WHY more money is needed… where it is spent and how it is justified.

    A teacher on a NM school district issue had a list of things teachers needed for students and didn’t have. One of his comments was that he had to teach from out of date school books…such as 1988 books twelve or more years AFTER massive world changes.. HOW is such a thing possible?

    IF the main idea of public schools is to educate children WHY aren’t teachers getting what they need to do the job?
    Where is the money going?

    Why not turn over the running of schools to private enterprize and reward the teachers who can teach? If teachers are paid on the basis of student knowledge and the school business ‘owner’ was paid based on the students knowledge we’d have effiecent and well run schools because the criteria for being paid is based on how well the teachers can teach..

    Would you bet that the schools would be run efficiently…more so than now?
    Teachers and kids would benefit. The school owner (superintendent) makes all profit from what she/he produces… knowledgeable kids.

    Teachers…the good ones … would be paid what they’re worth and they could teach without being embroiled in ‘stuff’…nothing to do with teaching.

    The taxpayers would KNOW what they got for the tax dollar… the student knowledge is the proof.
    I don’t know anyone unwilling to pay for actually getting educated students … what a concept!
    The Olympic pool discovery … taxpayers paying to assist only a few students…opened my eyes to waste and – apparently – no accountability or consequence.
    Sharon O’Hara

  2. Sharon – According to the county, 24.6 cents of every property tax dollar on homes in unincorporated Kitsap County goes to the state’s general education fund; 29.7 percent goes to local schools. That’s a total of 54.3 percent collected by the county on behalf of the schools.

    If you’d like information on the how SKSD spends its money, check out
    their Web site, where they’ve buried a user friendly version of the
    2007-08 budget under “departments.” Click on “business services,” then 2007-08 budget. Here’s the link:

    P.S. If you request it. They’ll give you the user unfriendly version as well.

  3. Unfortunately, school funding falls squarely on the back of property owners. Our state legislature has the power to change that significantly. They have chosen not to do so.

    It is frustrating as a school board member to have to ask property owners to dig deeper into their pockets because that is where people always seem to be getting hit the hardest.

    Personally, I’d prefer using sales tax for schools and property taxes for law and order, local government (other than schools) and infrastructure needs.

    Btw, Sharon, the unfriendly version makes better sense if you read the friendly version first. Few districts in Washington State go to the effort that our business office does to make the budget understandable and transparent. In fact, it was recently suggested by a fellow board member that it be show-cased as a model for other districts.

    Kathryn Simpson

  4. I would really like to see a link or document that details specific budget proposal changes for each department. What actual cuts have been proposed? In what departments? We hear about all these cuts but never see any real documents to support them.

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