Local school bonds still failing to get 60 percent

OKANOGAN – The second count of the Tuesday, Feb. 14 election, which included ballots for school facilities improvements in three school districts, Tonasket, Okanogan and Bridgeport, are not faring well and each could go down to defeat for not getting the 60 percent needed for approval.

The first count, taken Tuesday night had all three schools well short of what they needed for approval. The Friday, Feb. 17 showed improvements in the totals for Tonasket and Okanogan schools, but Bridgeport fell slightly. Okanogan, however, was under two percentage points away from passage as of the second count.

Tonasket School District

Tonasket School District, which asked voters to finance improvements and expansion of facilities to the tune of $9,995,911 of general obligation bonds with a payback over 12 years, had 51.59 percent approval as of the second ballot count. If approved, the measure would construct additional elementary and middle school classrooms, renovate the former elementary for alternative programs, construct additional high school vocational shop space, expand the middle school gym and improve outdoor athletic facilities. In order to validate the election Tonasket School District needs 1277 ballots to be cast. As of Tuesday 1154 were in and 2772 were still out.

Okanogan School District

Okanogan School District was asking their voters to approve a 20-year, $3,975,828 bond for construction and upgrade of the school buildings, grounds and sports/PE fields, as well as new construction of two elementary classrooms and one alternative school classrooms. In addition, the bond would pay for building, security and school ground upgrades. As of Tuesday’s vote count the measure had 58.32 percent approval, still nearly five percent short of the supermajority needed to pass. In order to validate the election 878 ballots needed to be cast. As of Tuesday 978 ballots were in and 1817 were still out.

Bridgeport School District

Bridgeport School District, which includes parts of Douglas and Okanogan County, had 55.56 percent approval from Okanogan County voters. The voters in Douglas County returned ballots that were much closer to approval at 64 percent. This bond is for $4,400,000 over 21 years to construct a building for classrooms at the elementary, renovate the middle school and construct permanent classrooms at the high school.

The county auditor’s office has about 372 votes left to count and will announce the results of that count on Tuesday, Feb. 28, accordi