Kingston lights: NKSD decision should be made this week

POULSBO - The Kingston High School lights saga continued this week, as North Kitsap School District Superintendent Rick Jones met with members of the Poulsbo and Kingston communities to discuss a funding strategy, which was on the agenda for tonight's school board meeting.

The proposal developed by Jones and the KHS lights stakeholders estimated the cost of lights to be $240,000 - a price Jones believes will decrease when the project is competitively bid. In the proposal, the community has an initial commitment of $100,000, with $40,000 already raised. Another $40,000 in state matching funds will bring the amount left to $20,000, which Kingston Rotary hopes to largely take care of at the June "Swing for the Lights" charity golf tournament.

The district, then, is asked to foot the bill on the remaining $140,000, and to front the money for the $60,000 yet to be received from the state and golf tournament. However, Jones said he expects the district to have $48,000 left over from the money budgeted for the construction of Kingston High School and another $20,000 to be freed up if KHS reduces of the number of capital projects it will undertake. This would leave $132,000 for the district to pay immediately for the lights project.

The school board has also asked the capital facilities advisory committee (CFAC) to make a list of the most urgent projects to be funded in the district, and to prioritize that list to give the board a better idea of where to spend currently uncommitted funds. The final version of that list likely will not be set until May or later, but bidding on the lights needs to start as soon as possible if construction is to be finished by the beginning of the next school year.

Still, even if the board does not come to a decision immediately, Jones said lights could be installed during the fall football season.

"I'm not going to let Thursday be the do or die day," he said earlier this week.

More information will be posted as this story develops.

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