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Supermajority no sweat for levy

To the relief of staunch levy supporters throughout the region, the 2006-2009 South Kitsap School District School Support Replacement Levy passed Tuesday with a 64 percent supermajority.

As of Thursday at 3:30 p.m., 12,402 votes to approve the levy had been counted and 7,073 “no” votes.

A total of 19,484 votes had been counted, 51 percent of the number of registered voters in the district.

A turnout of 40 percent or more was required to validate the election.

“I truly appreciate all the effort by everyone toward our levy election,” said South Kitsap School District Superintendent Bev Cheney. “I have no doubt it will pay off for the four years of financial stability we can now enjoy. Just like it took everyone in our community to join forces to pass the levy, we must join together to see that all of our children succeed – no matter what. I understand that this is by no means an easy task – but neither was passing our levy. However, with hard work and determination, we can accomplish this goal.”

The School Support Replacement Levy replaces the 2001-2005 levy which expires on December 31, 2005.

“We met a number of people who have opposed past school levies but supported this school levy,” said Jeff Cox, a member of the South Kitsap School Supporters (SKSS) Steering Committee. “People now have better information that cuts through many past misconceptions and myths about our school funding and the school district’s performance. There is also greater appreciation now for the crucial role of quality schools in a quality community.”

According to Cox, many “no” voters are focused on heading off any further taxes, regardless of the need or purpose.

“Our family budgets are strained these days,” Cox said. “People don’t often have the opportunity to vote on a specific pocketbook issue. We don’t get to vote on the price of a tank of gas, the cost of a bag of groceries, or the federal income tax rate. Anti-tax feelings have a particularly negative effect when a supermajority vote is required to pass a school levy.”

Wayne Senter, SKSS vice-chair, said he believes in what the passage of this levy will do for South Kitsap.

“We all benefit from the indirect results of properly funded public education,” Senter said. “This levy is critical for our community, our kids and our future leaders.”

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