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Bremerton School District seeks levy to support kitchen, West Hills STEM academy
The Bremerton school board approved April 12 bringing a $7.6 million levy before voters in August.
The levy would raise $1.9 million each year from 2013 to 2016, and tax .61 cents per $1,000 in a property's assessed value.
The money would support improvements including adding a classroom to the West Hills STEM Academy and replacing or upgrading the district's aging central kitchen.
Bremerton School Board Director Scott Rahm said asking for money in this economy isn't ideal, but necessary.
"It's not something we take lightly. It's about what's best for our children," Rahm said.
The district kitchen makes between 2,000 and 3,000 lunches each day in a building on the former Bremerton Junior High School campus on Wheaton Way, said Patty Glaser, Bremerton district spokeswoman.
The kitchen passes health inspections "100 percent," she said, but it's extremely old and wasn't designed to produce so much food.
If the levy passes, the district plans to replace the kitchen with about $3 million of the funds.
The district plans to turn the former Bremerton Junior High into a Youth Wellness Center, which the kitchen would serve.
Until that happens, Glaser said the deserted campus is a security threat to kitchen staff. "Since we'd had it boarded up, we've had people try to break in, had people set fires in it," she said.
Another large portion of the levy would go toward building a new wing on the West Hills STEM Academy. Glaser said the academy houses preschool through sixth grade, and will add classrooms for seventh- and eighth-graders to ease space at Mountain View Middle School.