BSD board hears concerns from teachers, community members

The Bremerton School Board saw a great deal of involvement from teachers, citizens and even a student at its Nov. 12 meeting.

Public input is usually sought at the beginning of board meetings and at this particular meeting, there was no shortage of people wishing to speak.

Several teachers from throughout the district took the podium to ask the board to consider bringing back librarians to elementary schools. Teachers claimed books, which were ordered and have arrived, are not making it onto shelves because there are not enough hours dedicated to the library to achieve this. They also noted declining sales for book fairs due to the absence of a librarian able to promote the events.

In other issues, Ron Carpenter, director of facilities for the Bremerton School District, asked the board for a progress payment of $174,000 to be made to Henderson Partners, the contractor responsible for the work done to Bremerton High School’s track, but several in attendance, including Lloyd Pugh, BHS track coach, were skeptical and asked the board to withhold the payment because the condition of the track is not acceptable.

According to Pugh, the track layout is not consistent with state and national track standards, especially lane size.

“When we laid out the track, we did not have room for eight 42-inch lanes using the existing asphalt,” Carpenter said to the board. “Because of budget constraints, we did not have the asphalt to do any work on the outside edge.”

“Have we met our obligations to the public?” asked board member Vicki Collins. “That’s my concern. And if we did not, when and where did we talk about the changes?”

Carpenter said when he took over the job in facilities, the only obligation he was aware of was to resurface the track.

The board voted to table the discussion for two weeks in order to get more information about the project.

“There are two points I’d like to make,” John Wall, of Henderson Partners, said. “The liens are going to come in. I just need to know who they are going to go to for you guys.”

“I understand your problem,” board member DeWayne Boyd said. “And I feel badly about being in this position. But at the same time, I am uncomfortable making a decision with the information we have.”

The board also unanimously voted to run a school support levy on the ballot in February to replace a current levy providing 20 percent of the district’s budget.

The proposed levy will be assessed at $2.50 per $1,000 of property value, but levy rates change with property values.

The levy will provide much needed $10.5 million each year to the district.

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