Ridgefield School District bond request is falling just short of approval
The latest results of Tuesday’s special election show the Evergreen School District’s replacement levy passing and the Ridgefield School District’s bond measure failing by less than one percent of the vote.
Thursday’s report is the third for the April 26 special election. It shows that 39,468 of Clark County’s 111,754 registered voters (35.32 percent) have turned in ballots. Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey told Clark County Today Thursday afternoon that he anticipates about 250 more ballots to be counted.
The Evergreen School District attempted to pass a levy in February. This second attempt is the final chance to pass the levy prior to finalizing the budget for the 2022-23 academic year. The latest replacement Educational Programs and Operations Levy is not a new tax. The district was asking voters to say yes to a replacement levy that will cost $1.70 for every $1,000 of assessed value, the same rate as the current levy. This is a lower rate than what was proposed in the February election, according to the district. In the February election, the rate started at $1.90.
As of Thursday’s report, the proposition had received 16,767 votes (54.42 percent) in favor and 14,044 (45.58 percent) in opposition. The proposition needs only a simple majority to pass.
“I am extremely grateful for the community’s support of our students and schools,’’ said Evergreen Interim Superintendent John Boyd. “The election results show the value that our voters put on education and the future success of our students. I’m also very thankful for all of the hard work of our Evergreen Citizens For Schools committee and the volunteers who helped to educate voters on exactly what programs the levy funds support. With these results we can continue to support student programs like art, music, high school and middle school sports and other extracurricular activities.”
The Evergreen School District is already facing cuts for the next academic year due to a decrease in enrollment, but it would have been facing considerably deeper cuts if the replacement levy failed. Boyd sent out an email recently to district employees noting the cuts that will be recommended to the school board.
Thursday’s election report showed the Ridgefield School District’s Proposition No. 8 with 5,110 votes (59.11 percent) to approve the bond request and 3,535 votes (40.89 percent) to reject the request. Tuesday’s first report showed that just 56.52 percent of voters approved the request, so the recent ballots have been increasing that percentage. With an estimated 250 ballots remaining to be counted, according to Kimsey, it’s unknown whether or not there will be enough remaining votes to push the proposition over the 60 percent super majority needed for approval. In the February special election, the request received 57.5 percent to approve.
Proposition No. 8 would authorize the Ridgefield School District to issue up to $62,565,000 of general obligation bonds to construct and equip a new K-4 elementary school, which will initially open as a K-6 school, an 8-plex classroom building at the new elementary school site, and an approximately 18,000-square-foot vocational/general education building at Ridgefield High School. If approved, the district expects to receive approximately $9,700,000 in state matching funds for the projects. If approved, the district would be authorized to levy property taxes annually to repay the bonds.
The district provided Clark County Today the following statement Friday morning:
“We are deeply grateful for the support we received from the Ridgefield community. Our schools are a foundational part of what makes Ridgefield such a special place to live, work, and raise a family. Ridgefield’s population has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years. With record enrollments throughout the district, the need for additional classroom and learning space remains. Our work to provide equitable learning opportunities for the students in our district will continue. While at this point it seems unlikely we’ll get to the 60% supermajority needed to pass, we will be eagerly watching as the final votes are counted over the coming days.”