No Valentine for area school bonds

 Tonasket School District well shy of approval

OKANOGAN – Early returns on 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 could go down to defeat for not getting the 60 percent needed for approval.

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 47.61 approval as of the first 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 55.24 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 56.25 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.

For Okanogan County, election officials in the auditor’s office estimate there are still 591 ballots that have not been counted, including ballots received in the mail and those ballots the Canvassing Board needs to review. The total does not include any ballots from the drop boxes.

The next count will be on Friday, Feb. 17 and the election will be certified on Feb. 24.