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Cougar Chronicle

The Student News Site Of Central Kitsap High School

Cougar Chronicle

The Student News Site Of Central Kitsap High School

Cougar Chronicle

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Implications of a Failed Levy in CKSD

The effects of a failed levy that would be felt by CKSD schools, students, and staff.
Signs+advocating+for+and+against+the+levy+stand+next+to+each+other+outside+of+Central+Kitsap+High+School%2C+the+anti-levy+sign+identifying+the+levy+tax+as+unrealistic+spending+while+the+pro-levy+sign+identifies+the+levy+as+a+student+resource.
Justin Majette
Signs advocating for and against the levy stand next to each other outside of Central Kitsap High School, the anti-levy sign identifying the levy tax as “unrealistic spending” while the pro-levy sign identifies the levy as a student resource.

The Central Kitsap School District held a vote on Feb. 12, 2024 for additional funding that would go to schools. This additional funding would be provided by a policy called a levy, which is an additional tax that is placed on homeowners. The majority of homeowners residing within the Central Kitsap School District voted against the decision to continue the previous levy policy, which means that there would be less funding going to extracurricular school programs.

Executive Director of Business Services Paula Bailey directed the Cougar Chronicle to the Levy Election Results and Next Steps slide show that was presented at the school board study session on Feb. 21, 2024. According to the slideshow, it says that special education programs, sports, clubs, activities, and student support would receive less funding.

Graph of the proposed levy tax rates in the past years provided by the CKSD communications and budget team.

According to the slideshow, about 1000 community members highlighted the topics of communication, leadership, resource allocation, and efficiency as to concerns that would prevent a “yes” vote.

According to a table showing the average property tax rate, the proposed levy tax rate for homeowners in CKSD is currently $1.50 per $1000 of property value. For example, if a house is valued at $200,000, a homeowner would be paying $300 in levy tax annually.

“The passage of a local levy provides about 10% of our district’s funding, and we use this funding to support our students by providing programs and activities that are not fully funded by the state,” said CKSD School Board President Denise Tracy in an email interview.

The levy’s failure will force CKSD schools to make changes in where funding is spent. The financial impact of a failed levy would ultimately result in an estimated loss of $29,600,000 over the course of two fiscal years and one calendar year. Though the loss of funding will not affect basic education costs that are required to be covered by the state of Washington, it will affect varying student supports, safety, special education, and sports and activities, including Chromebook maintenance and repairs for students.

A graph from the Levy Results and Next Steps slide show provided by the CKSD communications and budget team.

“Levy funds are used to pay for additional safety and security personnel, teachers and support professionals, technology staff, operations staff, counseling services, and 100% of Chromebooks,” said Tracy. “The levy funds 15% of our transportation costs and 17% of our special education costs. Additionally, the levy funds 100% of the arts, athletics, clubs, drama, and music offered outside of the school day.”

According to the slideshow, Washington state does not fund any sports or athletic programs in any way, as the levy funds all extracurricular activities. High school and middle school sports could see a large reduction in funds due to the levy, with middle school sports being eliminated entirely; further, high school sports would become pay-to-play, which would help offset costs that the levy previously covered.

The levy also funded 15% of school transportation costs, such as buses to bring students to and from schools. The failure of the levy could mean that less transportation would be available for students: bus routes would become longer, buses would experience overcrowding, and distances to bus stops from students’ homes could lengthen.

There is a possibility that the outcome of this vote may be overturned during an upcoming election in April. This occurred during the last levy vote in 2022, when the original result was a failure but was overturned during the special election. If this special election results in a second failure, the adverse effects on district-wide funding will be seen over the next school year. However, if the special election reverses the results of the first vote, the levy rate will remain the same.

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About the Contributor
Justin Majette, Reporter
Justin Majette is in Journalism because he enjoys writing and giving people information about different topics. Outside of school Justin enjoys athletics such as volleyball, baseball, and lifting. His strengths are his capability to learn quickly and willingness to jump into new things. A hidden skill is that he can play the violin and piano. He plays in the CKHS select orchestra and enjoys performing with that group. Justin is the son of a military family. He was born in Maryland and moved back and forth between Washington and Virginia twice.
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