Bainbridge school levies have huge leads

The Bainbridge Island School District was passing both of its school levies easily in returns Feb. 15.

Results show the Enrichment and Operations levy and the Technology levy, leading by comfortable margins. 74% (6,750) voted yes for the E&O levy and 75% (6,872) voted yes for the Tech levy.

The legislation requires a simple majority of 50% plus one to pass.

Historically, the BI community has been receptive to levies, but the rollercoaster of budget talks in the last three months has shaken the district.

In October 2023, BISD leadership discovered a perceived $4.5 million shortfall and proposed to close two elementary schools as a cost-saving measure. Over the next few months, alarmed parents and staff pushed the district to consider other options, and on Feb. 8, it course-corrected, with a new deficit figure of $500,000.

The state provides funding on a per-student basis, which comes out to about three quarters of the funding necessary to run the district. To close the gap, school districts can pass levies on property taxes. Together, the E&O and tech levies account for about 16% of the district’s budget for the 2024-25 school year, or $11.9 million and $4 million, respectively.

BI saw about 47% voter turnout.

Election results

Bainbridge Island E&O: Yes 6,750 74%, No 2,351 26%

Bainbridge Island Tech: Yes 6,872 75%, No 2,300 25%

North Kitsap bond: Yes 5,888 36%, No 10,313 64%

Bremerton E&O: Yes 5,384 63%; No 3,204 37%

Bremerton bond: Yes 5,297 61%, No 3,342 39%

Central Kitsap: Yes 8,131 49%, No 8,296 51%

Turnout: 38%, 51,146 out of 134,974 registered voters