I have to say I'm not surprised the South Kitsap School District (SKSD) bond issue failed — even though it did garner slightly more than 50 percent. While the Port of Bremerton's recent 45¢ per thousand assessment didn't help any, in my view, the supporters just didn't address significant questions from the community in the direct manner necessary to convince voters to open their checkbooks.
• When you look at the Port Orchard/South Kitsap portion of the county's proposed comprehensive plan, you see the Urban Growth Area (UGA) boundaries extending between Sedgwick Rd. and Mullinex Rd. along Phillips. That's a huge chunk of ground expected to accommodate at least as many new residents as the McCormick Woods area. Yet nothing in the SKSD plan addressed this. When supporters were asked specifically about it, they didn't have an answer.
• One very real concern of a LOT of residents about the proposed new high school at McCormick Woods was that it would become the "rich kids school" while the current SKHS suffered from benign neglect where things like new books, the best teachers and facility maintenance were concerned. While supporters attempted to convince voters this wouldn't happen, they didn't adequately quell the community's collective fear over this issue.
• Also proposed was rebuilding South Colby Elementary, which is the top performing elementary in the district. Unfortunately, it is also the one with the steepest decline in enrollment projected over the coming years. This simply didn't make sense to a lot of voters.
The SKSD is considering running this bond issue again in November. Even if supporters do address community concerns adequately, will the Kitsap Regional Library (KRL) levy lift, which will be asking the voters for more money March, have an impact on the chances of success this fall? While KRL has demonstrated a need for additional funding and hasn't come to the voters in a couple of decades, there's just so much additional taxation property owners can afford.
Also looming on the horizon is the possibility of the county commission deciding to fund it's projected shortfall by exceeding the one percent annual property tax increase mandated by I-747, now that a King County judge decided none of us who voted for that understood what it was we were voting on, and threw it out. That would be a serious mistake by the commissioners, but that's another issue for another time.