NK Pool gets eight-month reprieve

POULSBO — The North Kitsap School District board of directors will subsidize the NK community pool through Aug. 31, 2009.

The 3-2 vote in favor of pulling the Dec. 31 deadline was handed down on Tuesday, as the board held a special meeting to take action on the pool’s deadline.

No one spoke out against the pool and a handful of community members spoke in favor of the pool.

Dan Delaney abstained, as his son recently joined the swim team, and Ed Strickland voted no, due to financial responsibility.

President Melanie Mohler said she was concerned about closing the pool because $4.2 million of the bond was recently spent to renovate the pool and the pool is part of the levy. Taxpayers voted to keep the pool, she said, which was a major reason why she voted to extend the deadline.

“I think we owe it to them to see what we can do, first and foremost as a district and a community, and then we go from there in terms of a long-term plan,” Mohler said.

Mohler also voted to recognize the “tremendous” efforts on behalf of the Community Pool Advisory Committee (CPAC). The board voted to form the CPAC on Aug. 11 and charged the group with developing strategies to operate the pool more efficiently, increase revenues and decrease expenditures. The CPAC has done exactly what they were charged to do.

September revenues were up nearly $10,000 compared with September 2007, and overall revenues have spiked by approximately $38,000. The pool’s use has also increased, and the CPAC is launching new revenue-generating programs and has several money-saving tricks in the bag.

“They’ve (CPAC) proven to us there’s certainly some potential to continue an upward trend of increasing revenue and decreasing expenditures,” Mohler said. “They’ve put an enormous amount of time toward finding a short-term solution.”

However, the vote does not mean the pool is in the clear. There’s a caveat.

The board will continue to financially support the pool as long as CPAC monthly reports demonstrate revenue improvement and expenditure reduction efforts remain successful, and the board reserves the right to rescind its support if projected financial targets aren’t met.

Either way CPAC members are delighted with Tuesday’s vote, as it dramatically helps their cause.

“I’m very excited,” said newly hired pool coordinator Jake DeVries. “It gives us a lot of time to figure out alternative funding options and knock the subsidy down. For the staff it’s huge, they get to keep their jobs.”

The goal for both parties is to whittle the district’s subsidy down to just utilities.

Nancy Moffatt, CPAC member and NKSD director of finance and operations, said a utilities-only subsidy would ring in at $100,000 to $150,000, and that’s on the high end.

Moffatt said last year’s pool utility estimate was $186,000, and having the pool blanket this year will really help out with heating costs.

She thinks subsidizing utilities only is feasible.

“It certainly is a doable thing given the amount of students who benefit,” Moffatt said.

Mohler noted the pool’s line item in the levy is exactly $100,000.

Moffatt said the district will be able to subsidize the pool through Aug. 31, as student enrollment is higher than expected and NKSD’s reduced energy expenses across the board.

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