VANCOUVER — Preliminary results from the Feb. 14 Special Election show several local school district levies are passing by relatively comfortable margins.
Seven Clark County school districts were running bonds or levies in today’s election, including the Vancouver School District with its $458 million bond to replace and renovate several schools throughout the district, and the Ridgefield School District with its $78 million bond for school construction, renovation and replacement.
Overall voter turnout for the Feb. 14 Special Election, so far — because ballots will still be counted for a few days following the election since Washington State allows voters to postmark their ballots on Election Day — is 29.47 percent with 53,921 votes counted out of 182,984 eligible voters.
The number of voters who turned out for today’s special elections is critical for the two school districts — Vancouver and Ridgefield — that are going out for bond measures. Under state law, a school bond cannot pass unless the election draws at least 40 percent of the voters who came out for the last general election.
Voters in the Ridgefield School District were asked to approve a $78-million bond with a term of 21 years, which will be used to pay for capital projects such as new school construction, renovation, replacement or other school improvements. The bond is currently passing with 3,158 yes votes (68.05 percent) and 1,483 no votes (31.95 percent).
In the Vancouver School District, which has has asked voters to approve a 20-year, $458 million bond to replace several schools throughout Vancouver, that means a minimum of 27,000 district voters — 40 percent of the roughly 67,000 voters in the Vancouver school district who came out for the Nov. 8 General Election in 2016 — needed to cast ballots in today’s special election.
As of 9 p.m., Feb. 14, the district did not have enough voters to pass the $458 million bond, with just 24,306 voters casting ballots for the Special Election. This number could change in the next few days, however, and if it does reach the threshold of the necessary 27,000 voters, the district’s bond is winning by a margin of 68 percent yes votes (16,573) to 31 percent no votes (7,720).
In the Battle Ground School District voters were asked to approve a four-year replacement maintenance and operations levy in the amount of $136.4 million. The current levy is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2017. As of 9:03 p.m. on Tue., Feb. 14, the levy is currently passing with 6,952 votes (51.28 percent) over 6,606 votes (48.72 percent).
In the Camas School District, where voters were asked to approve a four-year maintenance and operations (M&O) levy and a four-year technology levy to replace the M&O and tech levies that expire at the end of 2017, voters are passing both by margins of nearly two to one.
The M&O levy has garnered 4,023 yes votes and 2,081 no votes for a winning margin of 66 percent to 34 percent. The technology levy is also winning by a wide margin, with 4,079 voters saying yes and 2,011 voting no for a margin, so far, of 67 percent yes to 33 percent no.
In the nearby Washougal School District, where voters were asked to approve a three-year maintenance and operations (M&O) levy and a three-year technology levy to replace the M&O and tech levies that expire at the end of 2017, voters have so far said yes to both levies with margins similar to Camas.
The M&O levy in Washougal, so far, has received 1,846 yes votes to 1,198 no votes for a margin of 61 percent yes to 39 percent no. Likewise, the tech levy has 1,892 yes votes to 1,144 no votes for a margin of 62 percent yes to 38 percent no.
In the Hockinson School District residents were asked to approve a six-year capital levy that would fund synthetic turf field and a resurfaced track at Hockinson High School. The full amount the district is asking for over the six-year term is $1.5 million. This levy is currently failing with 1,179 no votes (59.79 percent) and 793 yes votes (40.21 percent).
Voters in the Woodland School District in Clark County are currently approving a three-year maintenance and operations levy in the amount of $14.25 million to replace the current levy that will expire on Dec. 31, 2017. So far, the Woodland levy is passing with 157 yes votes (55.28 percent) and 127 no votes (44.72 percent).
For more information about today’s election and about what the results mean for each of the seven school districts running bonds or levies in the election, please check back tomorrow, Wed., Feb. 15, for more election coverage in ClarkCountyToday.com.