Every site in South Kitsap School District is in need of improvement. The problem is addressing the need for major rebuilding and renovation of district facilities while working within the comfort level of local taxpayers. We want all students to be warm, safe, dry, and connected with their school. The Long Range Facility Planning Committee assessed the condition of all schools and support sites and provided a thorough recommendation for improvement to the School Board in April 2022. South Kitsap School District's last successful bond measure was 32 years ago and was used to build Sidney Glen Elementary. Hidden Creek Elementary, and Mullenix Ridge Elementary. The Bond Steering Committee is prioritizing the recommendation of the Long Range Facility Planning Committee in the development of a bond package.
The development of a bond for voter consideration is a thoughtful and thorough process. SKSD started with the Long Range Facility Planning Committee in February 2021. The committee was comprised of community members, staff, and two board members and they met twice monthly for 15 months to assess all District sites. They also studied current and planned home construction in the area along with enrollment projections. The committee’s recommendation to address needs over the next 5, 10, 20 years and beyond was presented the School Board in April 2022.
The next step was the formation of the Bond Steering Committee to take the recommendations of the Facility Committee and define priorities of the most urgent needs. SKSD hasn’t had a bond approved by voters in more than 30 years and there is need for improvement at every site. It was the task of the Bond Steering committee to establish priorities for the sites with the most pressing needs. The final step is community engagement and seeking feedback on the priorities to develop and plan a bond package. Once the bond is finalized, SKSD will engage the community again to ensure voters have all the information they need to make an informed decision.
Bonds are used for new school construction and renovation of buildings. They’re also used for major repairs and improvements such as safety and security upgrades, new roofs, heating and cooling systems, and structural improvements to our schools. Bonds are voter-approved debt. Money from local property taxes is used to pay back the debt over time. Money from bond measures is placed in the district's capital projects fund. Per state law, money form this fund cannot be transferred to other funds or used for unrelated purchases.
Levies support the daily education of our students. South Kitsap School District voters approved the Educational Programs & Operations Levy in 2021.
There are 16 schools and 6 support sites in South Kitsap School District. This includes 10 elementary schools, 3 middle schools, 1 comprehensive high school, 1 online learning center, and a campus with an alternative high school and developmental preschool. The support sites are Central Kitchen/Food & Nutrition Services, Warehouse, Facilities & Operations Site, Transportation Center, Information Technology Office, and Administration Office.
The Bond Steering Committee identified Cedar Heights Middle School, Olalla Elementary, South Colby Elementary, Explorer, and Discovery as the schools with the most urgent needs. The proposed bond will fund replacement of these schools. There is also a portion of the bond for renovating South Kitsap High School and to fund improvements and repairs districtwide. The list of improvements and more details on the SKHS renovation will be clarified in the final bond proposal.
If the bond is approved in November 2023, we project Cedar Heights and Explorer/Discovery completed in 2026-2027, South Colby and Olalla in 2027-2028, and South Kitsap High School phase one renovation completed in 2028. These estimates are based on school construction timelines from around the state.
The Long Range Facility Planning Committee identified the need for extensive improvements at every site. It is the work of the Bond Steering Committee to collect community input and prioritize the projects that will be funded by the bond. The list will be shared with the community in the finalized bond.
The need for a second high school is not as urgent as the need for replacement of the schools included in the bond. The 57 acre property on Old Clifton will be set aside for growth needs in the future. The bond was developed with the goal of local school tax rate stability. The charge is to address the most urgent rebuilding and renovation of district facilities without overburdening local taxpayers.
The goal is for local school tax rate stability. If voters approve the bond, the goal is for the tax rate in 2024 to be the same as what residents pay in 2022. South Kitsap School District estimates that the proposed bond for $271 million would cost approximately $1.00 per thousand of assessed home value. A home valued at $500,000 would pay approximately $500 for the bond per year.
The blue portion of the chart is the Educational Programs & Operations Levy. This levy was renewed by voters in 2021 and bridges the gap between state funding and the cost of operating our district. The South Kitsap community has been supportive of renewing the levy in recent years and our students receive tremendous opportunities as a result.
The green portion of the chart is the current Capital Projects Levy approved by voters in 2018 which expires at the end of 2022. Funds from the capital levy were used for projects in 3 categories: upgrades, safety & security, and technology improvements districtwide. The largest project is the SK Community Pool which will be completed to start the 2023-2024 school year. We are thankful to the community for this support and have shown evidence of promises made and promises kept with capital levy funding. Photos of projects and more details are on the district website and included in regular districtwide mailers to the entire South Kitsap community.
The yellow portion of the chart is the proposed bond that we are here to talk about today. If approved by voters, the bond will replace the tax rate from the expiring Capital Projects Levy and the overall local school tax rate is estimated to be the same in 2024 as we saw in 2022 at $2.86 per thousand of assessed home value.
As more homes and businesses are built in the community, the tax burden is divided between more tax payers. South Kitsap School District collects a set amount and does not collect more if more homes and businesses are added to the community.
School districts receive funding for basic education and do not receive funding for school construction. Financing school construction and major improvements relies on support by local taxpayers typically through general obligation bonds. Bonds require super majority approval (60%+) and are long term over 20-30 years.
South Kitsap School District does not have current bond debt and the last successful bond was approved by voters more than 30 years ago.
The School Construction Assistance Program (SCAP) or "state match" provides funding assistance to school districts that are undertaking a major new construction or modernization project. Projects must meet eligibility requirements. School districts are responsible to secure local funding for construction projects. If eligible, the State provides partial funding based on formulas, allowances, and costs related to certain aspects of a construction project. Learn more on the OSPI website.
Yes, South Kitsap School District developed the Destination Top 5 Priority Plan in 2020. The five priority areas (Academics, Wellness, Safety, Stewardship, Community) and progress toward the Top 5 goal are detailed on the website.
The Long Range Facility Planning Committee's recommendation to the Board identified improvement needs at every site. This bond is the critical first step in rebuilding South Kitsap schools. They made recommendations for 5 years, 10 years, 20 years at beyond. Schools not slated for replacement or major renovation in the 2023 bond will be addressed in future measures.
Current and projected enrollment was studied by the Long Range Facility Planning Committee. They also looked at construction planned in the City of Port Orchard and Kitsap County that could impact SKSD enrollment.
The 57 acre property on Old Clifton will be held in reserve for future growth needs.