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NKSD won't budge on community pool deadline — yet

POULSBO — The Community Pool Advisory Committee (CPAC) has made a big splash toward keeping the pool open.

To keep making headway, the committee needs the North Kitsap School District board of directors to pull the Dec. 31 deadline. The committee will have to wait a while longer for the decision.

Despite Director of Finance and Operations and CPAC member Nancy Moffatt’s urging at Thursday’s school board meeting to pull the deadline as time is crucial for the CPAC’s work, the board killed voting on the idea until a later date, as the CPAC presentation was slated on the agenda for discussion, not action.

“For transparency I think we should not take a vote until it can be on the agenda as an action item,” Director Dan Delaney said. He emphasized wanting to wait and hear the viewpoints of the several people who are “adamantly opposed” to keeping the pool open. “We have a policy that states we have to notify the public when we take action.”

Washington’s Open Public Meeting Law and the board’s policy requires the board to notify the public 24 hours before a special meeting will be held, however, it does not state 24 hours notice must be given to take action on an item listed as a report on the agenda. The board was going by Robert’s Rules of Order, which dictates procedures for public meetings.

The entire board decided not to vote because of the 24-hour reason. The board has taken action on items slated only for discussion in the past.

On Sept. 25, the board acquiesced to the Capital Facilities Advisory Committee’s request to expend $25,000 for an energy audit and separate metering of the pool building, even though action was not on the agenda.

Former school board president and CPAC member Catherine Ahl brought this to light.

“You did a few weeks past when you passed the energy audit, it’s not unprecedented,” Ahl said. “Just nod and put off the vote if you have to.”

The board held to its policy decision and is in the process of establishing a date for a special meeting to hear other viewpoints and take action on the Dec. 31 deadline.

Tuesday Nov. 4 was tossed around as a possible date, but no date’s been set.

“I think the committee should go away assured that we would allow this, but it’s just a procedure,” Delaney said.

On Aug. 11, the North Kitsap School District board of directors hosted a special meeting to form the CPAC, a group of volunteers — community members and district personnel — charged with developing ways to reduce the district’s pool subsidy and keep the pool open by hammering out revenue-generating and cost-eliminating ideas.

That’s exactly what the group has spent the past few months doing. All CPAC members were present.

Jan Harrison, co-chair of the marketing subcommittee, led the board through a Powerpoint presentation Thursday night, highlighting the committee’s progress.

Among the advancements: examining past and current expenditures with a “microscope,” creating a short-term marketing plan, finding new ways to increase revenue with current programs and hiring a new pool manager, Jake DeVries, who’s been instrumental in helping get the pool back on track.

“Our new goal is to reduce the district subsidy to utilities only by the next budget cycle,” Harrison said. “We are very confident we can do that.”

The group’s confidence stems from increasing revenues. Harrison shared 24-hour-old numbers for September’s revenue increases, which spiked approximately $10,000 more than September of last year. Overall 2007-08 pool revenues have increased approximately $38,000 more than 2006-07.

“Our revenues have continued to go up,” Harrison said. “I think it’s working, folks.”

To ensure the pool’s finances keep moving toward being in the black, the CPAC will pilot and test a slew of new programs: “Mommy and Me” swim lessons, twice a month date nights, where parents can get away by bringing kids to the pool for a fee, birthday parties, adding water Pilates classes and opening the pool as a venue for individuals to become water certified – in scuba or kayak.

The CPAC’s also considering tightening relationships with Olympic College to help freshman combat the dreaded 15; keeping the pool open during the district’s Learning Improvement Days -- as kids have those days off; and partnering with the student-run café Odin Inn so professionals can take a dip during lunch and grab some grub from the Inn before heading back to work ready to take on the day. Fundraising efforts, spearheaded by Save Our Pool, will continue, as will enticing other sponsors.

“We need you to pull the December 31st deadline,” Harrison said. “We realize that’s a leap of faith from you all, but we’ll continue to show you it’s working as it already is.”

The next board meeting is Thursday Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. in the Support Center Board Room, 18360 Caldart Avenue NE.

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