Several school districts across the Mid-Columbia are hoping enough people vote by Tuesday for their school bond elections to pass.
Richland, Pasco, Prosser, Finley and Columbia school districts put bond measures to the voters for the Feb. 14 election.
Along with needing 60 percent of voters to approve the bonds, each district needs a voter turnout equal to 40 percent of the ballots cast during the last general election to pass.
Richland School District needs at least 3,808 more votes. The Benton County auditors office reported receiving 10,839 of the 14,647 ballots needed.
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The district is asking voters to agree to a $99 million bond to build two new elementary schools, replace two elementary schools and complete several other projects.
School board President Rick Jansons wanted to make sure people send in their ballots.
“It’s important that we validate or the results don’t count,” he said. “We need to do everything we can to remind people to vote.”
The district planned to place signs throughout the area after the November election, but more than a month of snow meant there wasn’t anywhere to put them, Jansons said.
If the district isn’t able to gather enough votes, he is likely to ask the school board to go to the voters again in April, so the district can take advantage of low interest rates and avoid increasing construction costs.
It’s important that we validate or the results don’t count. We need to do everything we can to remind people to vote.
Rick Jansons, Richland school board president
“The bottom line is please vote, and please vote yes,” Jansons said.
Pasco is closing in on the 9,018 votes necessary to certify its $69.5 million bond election. As of Tuesday, the Franklin County auditor’s office had received 6,540 ballots.
The money is slated for building two new elementary schools, demolishing and rebuilding Stevens Middle School, and a series of other improvements throughout the district.
School board President Scott Lehrman was confident the district would reach the necessary number of votes.
The last Pasco bond, approved following the 2012 presidential election, garnered 11,712 votes.
“I believe our community has a passion for Pasco schools and that voters will come out to support our students,” Lehrman said.
Prosser is the only school district to already reach its validation number. As of Friday, the Benton County auditor’s office had received 2,092 votes — 229 more than the 1,863 votes needed for its $69.3 million bond.
Finley is close to reaching the 811 ballots need. Roughly 644 voters have sent in their ballots for the $10 million bond.
Columbia School District in Burbank is within 50 ballots for its $4.5 million bond. The Walla Walla County auditor’s office said it received 695 ballots of the 737 ballots the district needs.
Benton County voters can find more information at bentonelections.com, or by calling 509-786-5618 or 509-736-3085 during regular business hours. A map of the drop boxes is available at bit.ly/BentonCountydropboxes.
Walla Walla County voters can call the elections office at 509-524-2530, email firstname.lastname@example.org or drop by in person at 310 West Poplar St. A drop box is available at Columbia Elementary School at 977 Maple St. in Burbank.