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In Our Opinion

"Voters will be asked to decide next month to approve a $60.9 million North Kitsap School Board bond request. Now, $60.9 million isn't small change. It's a number to make you sit up, blink twice and pay attention as a voter. But, the school district isn't asking us to pay that total amount. A significant chunk of that money, estimated at $16.779 million, is paid by the state through matching funds. So, what do you get for your money? About half of that total amount is the long-postponed maintenance and renovation to a number of current school buildings, and the community swimming pool. The balance of the bond will pay for the construction of a new high school in the Kingston area. The bottom line for folks who own a $150,000 home is that you'll pay an additional $6.63 per month for 20 years. Anticipating that voters will have lots of questions about exactly what work will be done for this money, the North Kitsap School Board, Superintendent Gene Medina and members of the community task force that developed the bond request are all on the speaker's circuit. If you go to a meeting of practically any organization in North Kitsap during the next few weeks, you're likely to hear a presentation about the school bond. Instead of a canned, slick razzle-dazzle approach, the district is presenting the basic information and then answering questions in detail. Their open attitude welcomes questions, and encourages people to dig in and get involved in helping shape the community's future facilities. It's a far cry from the closed, isolated approach of previous administrations. We're impressed by the we approach being used. School district officials are working jointly with the Kitsap County Commissioners, Kingston planning groups, public facility district planners and involving everyone they can in the planning and future community use of the facilities. That's as it should be. School facilities and any other community building belong to all of us. We pay for them, we use them, and we should have this kind of say-so about planning them. If you have a question about the bond, attend a meeting or two to get your questions answered. Or, contact the school district directly. We think you'll agree with us that the information is available, clear and useful. What a welcome change. "

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