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School district has bond money to burn

Kingston High School is the largest project that came out of the 2001 bond. - Brad Camp/For the Herald
Kingston High School is the largest project that came out of the 2001 bond.
— image credit: Brad Camp/For the Herald

POULSBO — It’s taken nearly a decade, but the North Kitsap School District is ready to spend all but a small cushion of money remaining in its 2001 bond.

The district has compiled a list of suggested projects to fund using about $430,000 of the remaining $630,000 from the bond. It will hold a meeting at 7 p.m. Aug. 12, in the Student Support Center on Caldart Avenue to hear public input on the suggestions.

“That allows people to come back and say, ‘Hey I think that’s a great idea,’ or, ‘No, that’s not a great idea,’” said Cami Hattrick, a parent who helped rally support to pass the bond.

Renovations to North Kitsap High School were some of the chief results of the $100 million bond.

“We’re very grateful to the community for allowing us to make the school a place where kids can be proud to go,” North Kitsap High Principal Kathy Prasch said.

The construction of Kingston High School, renovations to the North Kitsap Community Pool and a handful of other projects are also visible reminders of the bond.

Most of the remaining bond money will likely be spent on upgrading fire and security systems at schools, replacing the floor in North Kitsap High’s auxiliary gym and making other small repairs. The district also intends to use bond money to pay for the new track being installed at the North Kitsap Stadium, a cost of about $102,000.

Hattrick, a member of the district’s Capital Facilities Advisory Committee, said the committee and district administrators believe leaving $200,000 in the bond fund will keep the district prepared in case any emergency expenses arise.

“We felt that the 200,000 (dollars) ... was enough,” Hattrick said.

School board member Ed Strickland disagreed, saying the district should keep at least a $500,000 cushion in reserve.

“I wanted to keep it all set aside for emergencies, like the track,” Strickland said. “I’d like to save as much as we can.”

Strickland agreed, however, that the suggested projects will be helpful to the district.

Hattrick added she would prefer to see the money put to good use rather than set aside.

“This money can be spent on these other projects that will benefit the district,” Hattrick said. “It’s my tax dollars, and I’m seeing the benefits now as opposed to 10 years from now.”

Hattrick is one of the people who has been involved with the bond from its beginning stages all the way to the present.

“It’s taken a long time to get here,” she said. “I didn’t know it was going to be my children’s whole school career.”

Hattrick and Strickland said although it’s possible to nitpick, district officials have been careful to spend the bond money wisely.

“Everything we did was supposed to be in the bond,” Strickland said. “Hindsight is 20-20, but we did pretty much what we had to do.”

Hattrick was even more optimistic, saying the district did more than expected with the bond money.

“Because of a great bond market and a great bid market, we’ve actually been able to do more than we set out to do,” she said.

Although the bond is finalized, the Capital Facilities Advisory Committee will continue to work with the district. Dave Dumpert, the district’s director of facilities and maintenance, said the committee will help the district plan for growth and research the possibility of future bond actions.

Committee chair Randy Borek said the group will have plenty of work to do after the bond becomes a memory.

“The committee ... will continue to focus on the long term capital needs of the district,” Borek said in an email. “We intend to be very proactive in planning for the future rather than reactive.”

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