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Group Forms To Oppose $50 Million Peninsula School District Levy In November

The Peninsula School District is proposing a four-year, $50 million capital projects levy in November.

The Peninsula School District is proposing a four-year, $50 million capital projects levy in November.
The Peninsula School District is proposing a four-year, $50 million capital projects levy in November.
A group is formally opposing the Peninsula School District's proposed four-year, $50 million capital projects levy that voters will decide in November.

The goal of the committee, according to Chairman Ken Manning, "is to inform the public of the impacts of this levy plus options and alternatives that should be explored before asking the taxpayers for an increase of over 50% in their property taxes they pay to schools."

If passed, the four-year measure would pay for a new elementary school in Gig Harbor North and replacing Artondale Elementary.

Other improvements include upgrading the district's technological infrastructure, school safety and possibly replacing turf fields at Peninsula and Gig Harbor Highs, as well as Harbor Ridge Middle School.

The levy would generate $12.5 million a year over four years, and it would add about $1.40 per $1,000 assessed value to the tax rate.

Here is the opposition group's letter to Patch:

At a Special Meeting held by the Peninsula School District (PSD) Board of Directors on Wednesday, July 31, 2013, at 7:00 a.m., the Board passed Resolution 13-03 to approve and place on the November 2013 ballot a 4-year Capital Projects Levy for $50 million.

Soon after that meeting a committee was formed and filed with the Pierce County Auditor to oppose the levy. An "against" and rebuttal to the "for" statement was submitted and accepted by the Auditor in time to appear in the voters pamphlet.

The goal of the committee is to inform the public of the impacts of this levy plus options and alternatives that should be explored before asking the taxpayers for an increase of over 50% in their property taxes they pay to schools.Representatives of the committee are available for public comment and are starting to schedule for local forums and interviews from community organizations.

If you would like more information or to schedule an interview please contact Mr. Manning at 253-307-4405 or Jerry Gibbs 253-241-6978 or the committee's E-mail nayonprop1@yahoo.com
Jessica Sawyer August 21, 2013 at 10:15 PM
One- to be clear the 50% increase is only on the very small percentage of the property tax that goes toward your local schools, NOT a 50% increase on your overall property taxes. I feel the current quote is misleading without that clarification. Two- I will be very interested to hear what "alternatives that should be explored" that would reasonably allow for the safe acommadation of the growing number of students in this district WITHOUT this levy. I recognize the levy represents a burden and a notable increase but peninsula residents truly pay far less than neighboring districts and substantially less than districts of the same caliber and reputation. I am not sure how the goals of the levy can be accomplished otherwise.
Wilkins August 22, 2013 at 05:45 PM
Strong schools = strong community and strong property values. Everyone benefits from good local schools whether you have kids in the schools or not.
Anne Puckett August 23, 2013 at 09:40 AM
The voters did not pass the last levy. Purdy students are in overcrowded buildings. Artondale is in desperate need of replacement. It is in terrible shape. Schools around the district need repairs.It is time for the voters to put kids first and support this much needed levy. We pay far less then surrounding districts. Come on people, let's back up the students in our district with healthy learning environments. When I go to the Midwest to visit relatives and I see the wonderful shape their schools are in due the the support they have, it makes me wonder why the voters don't support education here.
Been there August 23, 2013 at 07:48 PM
I think the Patch should go to Artondale and take photos as to how desperate of shape it is in. Also, note and document by photo how much the schools are in need of repairs. Seems these things always get exaggerated. Cut the administration and cut all those teacher meeting days. Why not wait for a levy once all those houses by the Costco area are filled and the economy has grown stronger. We are all economizing. The school district should too.
Gig Harbor Guy August 23, 2013 at 08:22 PM
We can no longer use the taxpayers as a bottomless pocket. I love the schools, teachers and kids but do the math. This tax hike is HUGE!!!! No one asks for a tax hike like this. Kids at Purdy need relief NOW, not after it takes years to build a new school. The school's plan is flawed. NO vote here.
Jon Monson August 28, 2013 at 01:18 AM
OK, so we spent all of the past money on salaries and more and more non-teaching positions, we did not put any money aside to repair or replace schools, so the taxpayers (certainly not the superintendent or his various administrators) are held accountable. Funny, we were told less than a year ago if we did not approve the 0.3% sales tax increase, Pierce Transit would cut service in half. We rejected the tax increase and suddenly they found all the extra money and no transit cuts. The PSD thinks all they have to do is say its "for the kids" and we will pay whatever they ask. This is pure mismanagement and they should not be rewarded. they should have set up a fund and set money aside to pay for these schools. Say NO to the 60% tax increase. Enough is enough.
Jeni K. August 29, 2013 at 12:26 PM
I admit to being new to this part of WA, but I'm looking at the math here. My kids will be at Purdy, which is already over capacity by about 300 students. Over the course of the next 18-24 months there will be around 1000 new families established here. (Based on the apartment/homes development going in just down from Costco, plus the Harbor Crossing development still being built, the quadrant homes that are nearly sold out and the new quadrant development going in on Harbor Hill in the spring... not sure if there's more developments planned, those are the ones that are already happening) More if all the units are done and sold on the schedule that they're showing. If 50% of those families have 2 kids that's about 1000 new kids entering the school system over the course of the next 2 years in about a 3-4 mile radius. From what little I've been able to see, it looks like Gig Harbor's population is almost set to double from the 2012 census to the 2014-2015 projected numbers. That's a whole lot of growth that has to go somewhere. At this point, where money was "wasted" is kinda irrelevant. Like arguing about who drank the milk after it's gone. Done is done and agree or disagree with how it happened, it happened. There's still going to be around 1000 or more kids coming into the district whether the money was poorly spent or not. Better to get ready for that influx and attempt to set policies to prevent those issues from happening again than opposing policies to accommodate what's already a reality.
Anne Puckett August 30, 2013 at 06:39 PM
Exactly, Jeni K. I totally agree with you. Plus, funding is a not something that can be switched like a household budget. Money for staff does not come out of the same budget as maintenance and building new schools. The state sends schools money for certain things. As I understand it, there is not a lot of wiggle room for changing money from one budget to another. And by the way teachers salaries have gone down and medical cost have gone up over the last few years. Plus, our teachers make thousands of dollars less then surrounding districts. Our community needs to support this levy. If you don't like how money is spent get involved and informed by going to school board meetings. Volunteer in the schools by tutoring or helping in the classroom. Then you will have a better understanding on why the schools need to pass this levy.
Jaymie Heffron August 31, 2013 at 12:48 AM
Target is private property. I support the mans protest. But Target has a legal right to remove the man. But the exception to the rule would be collecting signatures for a state petition. That act is protected by case law. Because the court views the target parking lot as the town square.
Jeni K. September 10, 2013 at 10:05 PM
As an added note - using the levy instead of using something like a bond means that the amount per year collected is fixed over the course of 4 years. As each new house goes in (and remember that new development is set to have over 500 new homes, plus all the other construction) the cost per year for existing homes drops as the new income is added. Also it keeps the school out of a long term debt that the bond would set it up for.

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