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North Kitsap Community Pool is worth saving, both sides say
Board charges finance director with finding cash to keep pool open until Dec. 31
POULSBO — The Save Our Pool fund-raisers and the school board are formulating arguments from different corners, but a common theme resonates in the ring: The North Kitsap Community Pool is worth saving.
On July 10 before the North Kitsap School District board of directors meeting, the board discussed the issue at a general fund/pool study session. And after a slew of questions it appears to be good news for the swimmers of North Kitsap, as they might have a little more time to perfect their breast stroke.
The board, with the exception of Ed Strickland who said “I’ve already looked at it and you can’t do it,” charged Nancy Moffatt, NKSD executive director of finance and operations, to pursue a budget that includes the pool until Dec. 31.
“Nancy, if you think you can balance the budget and move ahead and include the pool in it then I’m going to say yeah,” said Dan Delaney. “I think we should all continue to work together.”
Val Torrens, Tom Anderson and Melanie Mohler sided with Delaney. Strickland was the lone dissenter.
Strickland’s primary issue was the status of the student resource officers, as the district doesn’t have the cash to fund its portion of the officers’ salary.
“I’m not going to spend a dime on the pool until we restore those student resource officers,” Strickland said. “We are cutting the student officers and students’ safety has to come before the pool.”
The others agreed, however, Delaney summed it up as he said, “I don’t think we have to be so catastrophic about how we make our decisions.”
The discussion, which jumped from the platform of keeping the pool open until Dec. 31, also centered around the North Kitsap High/Kingston High swim team season and the impact on athletic fees, transportation costs, reduction in pool programs and hours, raising pool swimming fees and contracting with other area entities that have pools.
Most answers given were speculative at best.
Greg Epperson, NKSD executive director of Student Support Services, said if the pool is open until Dec. 31 modifications would have to be made to the athletic fees, but couldn’t provide a clear answer as to what that might look like.
Pool Manager Greg Schmidt said to date using Bainbridge’s or Central Kitsap’s pools aren’t an option. If another pool option does open up, costs to transport the swimmers haven’t been considered.
Moffatt said the swim team fees are low as well as those for lessons and daily swims and the possibility of raising fees was also thrown on the table.
Torrens pitched the parks and recreation metropolitan district long-term solution, and said it needed to happen simultaneously with the pool saving efforts.
“That piece has to start now,” she said. “People need to be working as hard at that as they are to keep the pool open. It has to be happening at the same time.”
Although the board gave Moffatt the go-ahead to develop a budget that includes the pool until Dec. 31, that doesn’t mean that’s going to happen. And if it does, it doesn’t mean the pool will remain open as is.
“All I heard is pool or no pool,” Delaney said. “I’m really anxious to see some other scenarios other than it’s all or nothing.”
The board will vote on the finalized budget at the Aug. 28 meeting. The meeting is at the Student Support Center Board Room, 18360 Caldart Avenue NE, and begins at 7 p.m.