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North Kitsap School Board may ask for property tax increase

POULSBO — The North Kitsap School District may ask voters to approve an increase in its property tax levy. The current levy expires in 2014.

District administrators expect to put the levy on the February ballot. If approved, the owner of a median-priced home of $259,000 would pay about $696 in property taxes each year, up from $650.

If approved, the district would receive more than $68 million over a four-year period.

Four of the five school board members expressed support for asking voters to approve the four-year levy, during the Oct. 24 board meeting. School board member Ken Ames was not present for the discussion.

“If we don’t do the maximum, we’re really doing our kids a disservice,” school board member Tom Anderson said.

The district relies on the current levy for about 22 percent of its more than $60 million annual budget.

The board will need to approve a resolution by November in order to file with the county and get it on the February ballot. The board meets Nov. 14.

Stacie Schmechel, a member of NK Education, an advocacy group, said the board should not make a decision before hearing more from the community.

“How do you make those decisions when you haven’t gotten that information,” Schmechel said.

The district formed a Community Financial Advisory Committee to help narrow down levy options. The committee of 13 has met twice, according to information posted on the district website.

Voters last renewed a district levy in 2010, which generated $56 million over a four-year period.

Board director Scott Henden told the board he would like to tell voters as clearly as possible what the levy money will be used for. Board President Dan Weedin agreed it’s a good idea, but the board needs to make sure promises aren’t made that will not be able to be kept if a levy increase is not approved.

 

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