Tag Archives: levy

SKSD Board Member Explains “Reprogramming” Levy Funds

Got a comment today from reader Ed Sampson about the story I wrote on South Kitsap School District’s budget.

The paragraph he cited was :

“Around 18 percent would come earmarked for “public safety and other government uses” and could be used for construction and renovation projects, such as the replacement of the Orchard Heights Elementary roof.

District officials had planned to pay for the $1.4 million roof project with a levy South Kitsap voters approved Feb. 3. Stimulus money would allow those funds to be used elsewhere.”

Ed said:

As a concerned citizen, I am at the end of my rope of any agency, be it schools, etc. of seeking funds voted by the public for at stated reason and then the funds are diverted “elsewhere” for other uses.  I voted for these funds to be used for a given purpose according to the information provided to us when we voted for/against the school levy in the election.  The funds being approved need to be used ONLY for that purpose.  If they are used elsewhere, that boarders on illegal and un-ethical.  If the funds are to be used elsewhere outside of the information supplied at the time of voting, then that action needs to be first voted for/against by the public and the levy for the school money needs to be adjusted accordingly.  It is time for the public to take back control of our all our government representatives be it at the Federal, State or Local levels.  Accountability is badly needed at all government levels.

I do hope to see in the future where our local level officials will also go to the Federal Recovery Stimulus web site to add in where they spent their Stimulus funds.  We might even be able to see where they “diverted” some of the school levy funds to another “project”.  But I will not hold my breath on that one.

Ed Sampson

I summarized Ed’s comments for school board member Kathryn Simpson and asked if she could respond to his thoughts. I picked on her because of her history of willingness to publicly jump into the fray where debates over district issues are in question. Kathryn, speaking as an individual and not representing the board, said:

Hi Chris,

Reprogramming (moving from one pot to another) of approved levy funds do not require a vote of the board. However, since the district’s budget is approved by the board, any change in revenue and expenditure would be approved by the board and the board expects to be informed and involved in such fiduciary decisions. This has been past practice and I have no reason to believe it wouldn’t be continuing practice.

As you know, SKSD formalized the levy plan in October.  This was well before the “stimulus package” conceptual ideology was even remotely coming into focus. Further, education funds were amongst those being hotly debated at the tail end of formalizing the final package.  Finally, the end product of these federal debates, now known as the “American Recover and Reinvestment Act” (ARRA) didn’t become law until after the February levy vote.

In fact, we won’t even be clear on what upside fiscal impact ARRA might (stressing the ‘might’) have.  From what I can see, it may prove to be little more than a backfill of funding that will be taken away by the State of Washington due to the potential $10 Billion dollar deficit the State is now facing.  Much discretion is being given to the States to decide whether the stimulus funds will raise funding levels (temporarily) or simply facilitate funding levels to remain somewhat constant because of the battering many state economies are facing (including Washington State) and the resultant cutbacks they may be making to education budgets.

I hope that helps adequately addresses the question and concern.  My comments, of course, of those of one member of the board.  I would strongly encourage anyone with questions and concerns to come to a board meeting and express their concerns to the board so that the entire board can respond and be better informed about constituent concerns.

Regards of the NW,
Kathryn Simpson

Party Time in South Kitsap

South Kitsap Schools Supporters, school district officials and community members gathered at The Clubhouse at McCormick Woods to await levy results. The before and after pictures below pretty much reflect reaction of the crowd of 150 + to the news that the levy passed with 56.7 percent voter approval in preliminary results Tuesday. Never mind that the measure would have failed had Washington voters not approved a simple majority for school levies in 2007 to replace the 60 “supermajority” previously required. Shawn Cucciardi, chairman of the School Supporters, said the handy margin represents a “cuture shift” in South Kitsap, which experienced multiple levy failures in the 1990s and failed to pass a bond in 2007. This is the first time since records began to be kept in 1973 that SKSD has had 12 years of stable levy funding (will be 12 years as of 2013).

The event, featuring music by the local rock ‘n roll band The Spenders, was not paid for on the taxpayers’ nickel, Cucciardi said. Community members pooled money to cover light hors d’oeuvres. Cucciardi donated the space. There was a no-host bar. And the band played for free … they weren’t bad either.

BEFORE (District representative Aimee Warthen and school board member Patty Henderson)

SKSD Levy Results Before
SKSD Levy Results Before

AFTER (Patty Henderson and Aimee Warthen. In Background board member Keith Garton and supporter Retha Civilla
SKSD Levy Results After
SKSD Levy Results After

One More Chance to Speak Out on SKSD Levy Amount

The South Kitsap School District Board of Directors will hold a public hearing prior to voting tonight on a levy measure that would raise $70 million in property tax revenue for South Kitsap schools over the next four years. The meeting is at 6 p.m. at the district office 1962 Hoover Ave. SE.

The levy measure, to run Feb. 3, would replace the district’s current levy that expires at the end of 2009.

The board last Wednesday agreed to vote on a total levy amount that would factor in an 8 percent rate of inflation for the first year of the levy and 6 percent in subsequent years. The amount collected in the form of property taxes over four years would total $70 million, up from $67.6 million in an earlier proposal.

Terri Patton, assistant superintendent for business and support services, told the board the estimate would help the district weather continued economic turbulence that has been driving up costs for personnel, services and supplies, especially fuel for buses. Board members agreed.

Taxpayers would be charged an estimated $2.27 per $1,000 of assessed property value for 2010 and 2011. The estimated rate would be $2.28 per $1,000 for the last two years of the levy. The $67.6 million proposal would have collected an estimated $2.20 per $1,000 over four years. The current levy amount is $1.98 per $1,000.

What would the increased rate mean to property owners? Here’s an example (they ought to put this one on the WASL). The owner of a home valued at $250,000 currently pays $495 per year to local schools, or $41.25 per month. Under the lower levy option once being considered, the $67.6 million proposal, the annual amount would increase to $550 per year, or $45.83 per month. Under the $70 million proposal, the same homeowner would pay $567.50 per year for the first two years of the levy, and $570 per year for the last two years, at $47.30 and $47.50 per month respectively.

If you have anything to say about the levy, be there or be square. For more information on the levy, visit the district’s Web site.