Kingston High lights proposal ekes forward

POULSBO — Competition usually takes place on the playing field. In Kingston, the field is one of the players, as community members continue to vie for the installation of lights at the home of the Buccaneers.

A number of people backing the lights project turned out for the North Kitsap School District’s Board of Directors meeting Tuesday, many of them sporting the “Got 2 C 2 play” buttons created by the Kingston Rotary. They were not, however, the only group in need of district dollars. After $300,000 of capital surplus fund money was approved for transfer to the North Kitsap High School Modernization Phase II budget — which now totals more than $21.3 million — the district’s reserves sit at about $700,000.

Additionally, the city of Poulsbo is asking the district to kick in $50,000 to build sidewalks for Poulsbo Elementary, and board members have expressed a desire to keep half a million dollars in reserve for roof replacement at Breidablik Elementary. Advocates of the lights project, however, contend that the Breidablik roof can wait until next year, when that construction is eligible for matching funds from the state, leaving plenty of money for lights in district coffers.

The lights task force, made up of members of the Poulsbo and Kingston communities, put together a proposal which Todd Tidball and Clint Boxman, of Poulsbo and Kingston Rotary, respectively, presented to the board Tuesday. The plan stated that Rotary, ASB and booster clubs have raised more than $40,000, and are willing to raise up to $100,000 toward lights if the board is unable to fund the entire project, estimated at $240,000-270,000.

“We request the board approve this proposal tonight so we all leave these chambers knowing there will be lights at Kingston,” Boxman said. “We’re worried that the desire of the entire community will fade,” if the project is not approved quickly.

District five Director Ed Strickland said after the presentation, “I think it’d be foolish not to put lights in at Kingston. That field is going to wear out whether you use it or not. The more use you get out of it, the better off you’ll be.”

School board president Tom Anderson admitted that, in hindsight, the district probably should have funded lights in place of tennis courts at the school. Still, board members questioned where the lights fall on Kingston High School’s priority list.

“The lights are a very high priority,” KHS principal Christy Cole said.

But Cole also mentioned better storage facilities for textbooks as being equally high on the list.

Strickland made a motion to allocate $225,000 of district money to the lights project, but found no second amongst the board, and the motion died. Instead, the funding of lights will be brought forth as a formal action item to be voted on at the next board meeting at 7 p.m. April 23 at the Kingston High Commons.

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