School district levy squeaks through

Ya hoo!

On Tuesday, March 12, Kitsap County voters approved all three school levies on the ballot — Bremerton, Central Kitsap, and North Kitsap.

CK passed easily, but Bremerton and North Kitsap were nail-biters, according to officials.

On Thursday, county election officials counted 519 mail-in ballots for Bremerton, and, surprisingly, said Joan Dingfield, community relations director for BSD, the “yes” margin increased from Tuesday’s preliminary results.

In the past, mail-in ballots were generally more conservative than ballots cast at polling places, and often reversed close elections.

The tally on Thursday March 14 at press time was 61.53 percent yes (5,308 votes) to 38.47 no (3,319 votes) for Bremerton’s tally. The final, official results will be released Friday, March 22.

At the end of the count Tuesday night, Bremerton’s levy was ahead by only 60.99 percent (to 39.01 percent). Levies require a supermajority of 60 percent. No recount is required for supermajorities, only simple majorities.

Hundreds of mail-in ballots had yet to be counted. That’s what worried BSD officials, a bit. But now BSD officials are jubilant.

BSD Superintendent Bette Hyde couldn’t be reached by press time, however, Dingfield said Hyde sent an e-mail to everyone in the district that said:

“We have four years of freedom from running levy elections, so we can focus on student achievement. It’s a great gift the voters gave us.”

The $27.5 million, four-year levy will tax property owners $3.15 per $1,000 of assessed value on their property between 2003 and 2006.

The BSD levy represents 13 percent of the total budget and pays for many extracurricular programs and well as salaries for many teachers.

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