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"School levy passing (in poll, anyway)"

"In a poll of Independent readers, the new South Kitsap School District maintenance and operations levy was passing this week.The real story will unfold next Tuesday. Votes cast by absentee ballot and that day at polling places will tell whether local funding will continue for the district, of if cuts in programs and employee layoffs will be necessary because of an interruption in property tax collections.The four-year, approximately $45 million levy must pass to avoid cutbacks, according to district officials. The levy pays for 23 teachers and 18 support-staff members, plus classroom materials and extracurricular activities for students. Despite a 53 percent yes vote on the levy in February, it fell short of the 60 percent required for passage.Through Thursday, response to the Independent's poll question on its Web page--Do you intend to support South Kitsap School District's M&O levy?--was running at 60 percent in favor of the measure and 40 percent against it. The poll at www.portorchardindependent.com will continue through this weekend.Its results, of course, are meaningless. A poll commissioned last year by the school district also indicated heavy support of the levy. So far, however, the proposed new levy has encountered the same voter reaction as the current levy met. Before that one passed in 1998, it was rejected twice.The new levy would start off collecting $10.7 million its first year, or about 17 percent of the district's budget for the 2000-01 school year when combined with levy equalization funds from the state. The latter money is only available if the levy passes.About 66 percent of the levy money is earmarked for classroom needs. The rest is divided among transportation, building maintenance, computer technology and school security."

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