Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Balancing Needs for Kids and Taxpayers...

Below is a link to SKSD’s line item description of where every levy dollar will go:

Very few school districts go to the detail that SKSD does to show where levy dollars will be spent. In fact of the 279 school districts across the state who have levies, 53 of those districts request the maximum allowed by law (generally 24%, though 44 districts are grandfathered into higher limits). Locally, districts who are “maxed out” include Bremerton, North Kitsap, and Bainbridge Island. South Kitsap takes a more conservative approach, attempting to balance the needs of our students with the needs of our taxpayers. The state wide average is 23.2%. South Kitsap’s average is 20.27%. That will go up to about 21% when the 2009 levy passes (still significantly below the state average).

Of those 279 school districts with outstanding levies (maintenance and bond levies), South Kitsap ranks 231st in total tax rate (1.90 per 1000 in valuation). When the 2009 levy passes, we will move up to 213th (2.27). The state average is 3.15.

If you would like to see a great Powerpoint presentation about the levy, try this link:

Kathryn Simpson


Why support the levy?

In 1999, SKHS’s graduation rate was less than 77%. Today it is more than 92%. What does that mean to our community? It means that 15 more students out of every 100 are graduating from high school than were doing so when our levy funding wasn’t stable. WOW!

In 2001, average SKSD 10th grade WASL scores were 58.4% in reading, 37.2% in math, and 48.5% in writing. In 2008, those averages were 84.1% in reading, 53.4% in math, and 87.9% in writing. These strong gains were possible because levy funds provide opportunities for improved curriculum adoptions, technology that facilitates differentiated instruction for students, and extended learning opportunities (amongst other things)!

Eight years ago, SKSD had one of the oldest fleet of school busses in the state. Many were past their depreciation point which made the district ineligible for state funds to replace busses. Thanks to stable levy funding for the past 8 years, we have been able to improve the fleet and are now eligible for state funds that allow us to regularly replace aging busses.

Eight years ago, our secondary music program was nearly non-existant. Extra-curricular programs like athletics, band, and theatre, were stripped to the bare bones. Thanks to stable levy funding, these programs have flourished and infused a sense of belonging, leadership skills, and creativity into our students. These programs have also helped kids stay motivated to stay in school.
As an example of the forward progress, on New Years Day 2010, the SKHS Band has been extended a rather exclusive honor to perform in the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena. Our choirs and bands are winning awards across the state and across the nation these days. Students take pride in marching with the SKHS Band and singing with the choirs.

Strong academics and challenging extra-curricular programs are building leaders in our schools. In fact, in 2008, TWO of our students were accepted into the United States Naval Academy.

Yes, levy funding is making a difference in the lives of South Kitsap students, the quality of their education, and the strength of our South Kitsap Community!

Please vote YES for the levy!

Kathryn Simpson