It looks like 2023, the Year of the Rabbit, is already shaping up to be quite newsy.
On the heels of publishing our 50th Anniversary Edition in January, duly recorded as Volume 50, Number 1, Key Peninsula News already has more to crow about.
Our front-page story this month announces the news of the newspaper becoming fully independent as a new nonprofit corporation with the approval of 501(c)(3) charitable tax-exempt status from the IRS.
It’s a big deal.
The board of directors of both KP News and the Key Peninsula Civic Center Association deserve congratulations and gratitude for doing the best thing for both organizations to continue to thrive and grow independently. But we remain forever bound together in our mutual desire to foster the healthy community we know is possible.
Thanks to another year of record-breaking financial support from donors near and far, your respect and appreciation of our work continues to inspire us to be the best local newspaper we can be. How many people do you know say they “love” their newspaper?
It’s no secret that our board of directors, our staff and regular contributors love what we do too, but at the end of the day, nothing matters more than reader engagement. Awards are great, don’t get me wrong (14 last year — see “KP News Wins Top State Awards Five Years Running,” November 2022), but did we make a difference in your life? Would you be satisfied with what you read about our community just on social media?
Shoot us an email or give us a call and let us know what you think about that.
Overall, the change in ownership will be imperceptible to readers and advertisers. The newspaper has already operated independently for the most part over the last 20 years while nestled under the fiscal umbrella of the civic center.
We’ve been surprised by the number of people who never made the connection between the newspaper and the KPCCA despite its listing on our masthead as the publisher for decades. Although the number of old timers who continue to refer to us as “their newsletter” makes me wince a little, most readers appreciate our unbiased journalistic standards.
Our stories are your stories. They are about your neighborhood, your schools, your parks and fire districts, your ancestors and your children; your endeavors at work and play to make our community shine a little brighter.
The death knell has been ringing loud and clear for newspaper publishers for years now, portending the collapse of local journalism. We hear that print journalism is dead too and advertising has been relegated to social media pages most people never see. As a nation we’ve become nearly deaf to the cries of communities waking up one morning to discover that their daily newspapers are merely ghosts of their former selves. The numbers are astonishing.
Over 3,400 weekly newspapers have closed their doors since 2004 and many communities have no source of reliable local news at all.
What fills the space in the absence of local news? Everything from national cable television and radio to social media tends to polarize by design, and most of it has very little to do with our daily lives. As a result, communities grow increasingly isolated to the point of stagnation and an inability to get anything done.
Thomas Jefferson said as much in a letter to a friend in 1789, marveling in his own surprise at the success of the newly ratified Constitution, when he wrote “Wherever the people are well informed, they can be trusted with their own government.”
Nowhere is this more important than at the ballot box, which brings me to the news of the day.
The Peninsula School District is asking voters to approve two property tax levies in a February 14 election.
Proposition 1 is a three-year Replacement Educational Programs and Operations Levy to replace the current one, which will expire at the end of 2023. The operations levy makes up approximately 18% of the district’s budget for items not fully funded by the state, including school nurses, athletics, arts and preventive maintenance.
The estimated tax rate starts at $1.13 per $1,000 of property value in 2024, raising about $27 million in its first year, and decreasing by one cent in each of the next two years.
Proposition 2 is a new six-year Safety, Security and Technology Levy to pay for building access controls, cameras and communications, cybersecurity and classroom devices. The rate for this levy would be 25 cents per $1,000 of property value, raising $6 million in its first year.
The full text of the levies can be found in the Voter’s Pamphlet mailed by the Pierce County Auditor’s Office and online at www.piercecountywa.gov.
In 2019, voters approved a $198.55 million school construction bond, the first in two decades, used to build new schools and refurbish old ones. PSD said the combined rates of both school levies plus the existing bond are estimated to be $1.82 per $1,000 in 2024, lower than this year’s levy-plus-bond rate of $2.01 in 2022.
The KP News editorial policy forbids our taking or promoting political stands, but we strive to provide as much information and local opinion as possible on issues concerning the Key Peninsula and beyond, so that you can take a stand.
Even national issues — abortion, guns, Ukraine — resonate with our neighbors, along with local traffic, crime and personal stories, and we will continue to tell them as well as we can.
Thank you for your support.
UNDERWRITTEN BY NEWSMATCH/MIAMI FOUNDATION, THE ANGEL GUILD, ROTARY CLUB OF GIG HARBOR, ADVERTISERS, DONORS AND PEOPLE WHO SUPPORT LOCAL, INDEPENDENT NONPROFIT NEWS