RIDGEFIELD — As the first initial results from the Feb. 14 Special Election became available Tuesday night that indicated that the $78 million school bond that the Ridgefield School District asked voters to approve was indeed passing, Superintendent Nathan McCann said he was excited and felt like the last 18 months of work that the district and community members had put into the bond was paying off.
“I’m very excited and I really feel like 18 months of work has been validated by a resounding and overwhelming amount of support from the community,” McCann said Wednesday evening after the Special Election results were updated.
As of 2:17 p.m. on Thu., Feb. 16, the Ridgefield Schools bond was passing with 3,813 yes votes (68.75 percent) and 1,733 no votes (31.25 percent). In Washington state, school bonds require a supermajority of 60 percent plus one vote in order to pass.
On the evening of the Feb. 14 Special Election, McCann said he and about 40-50 community members, school district employees and supporters of the school district gathered at the Sportsman’s Steakhouse & Saloon in downtown Ridgefield to wait for the initial election results.
“It was a nice celebration, a really nice time to gather,” McCann said. “It’s been so much work by so many volunteers, it really was a way to say hard work pays off.”
Although McCann said he remained optimistic over the fast several months that the bond would indeed pass, he said he was still nervous as he awaited those first election results.
“It (the bond) was a big increase and you never know for sure if you’ve engaged every stakeholder as much as you can,” McCann said. “We’ve never passed a bond like this, it’s really a testament to the community and their support of schools. Ultimately when it comes to school levy and bond elections, it is about the trust and faith that the citizens have in the school district at that time. You can identify the needs and make a case for that, but that doesn’t mean anything if the district isn’t trustworthy. This is really a tribute to the hard work of all of the staff and the district on a daily basis to do good things for schools.”
The $78 million bond, which has a term of 21 years, will help build a campus with two new schools, expand the high school, add security enhancements to South Ridge and Union Ridge elementary schools, repurpose View Ridge Middle School and help build the Ridgefield Outdoor Recreation Complex.
The total cost of the projects is $98.5 million. Since the bond has been approved, the district will receive approximately $15.5 million in state matching funds. Also, by partnering with the city of Ridgefield to construct the Ridgefield Outdoor Recreation Complex, the district will save $5.035 million.
The last time voters in the Ridgefield School District approved a bond was in 2012 and was the largest bond amount in the district’s history at that time at $47 million.