Voters failed to approve the Pasco School District’s $69.5 million bond proposal in Tuesday’s election, while bonds in the Richland, Finley, Columbia and Prosser school districts appeared to pass.
The first round of votes were counted Tuesday night.
The districts needed to meet two requirements for the bonds to pass. Forty percent of the people who voted in November’s election needed to vote again to validate the election. And the bonds need 60 percent approval to pass.
Pasco and Richland had yet to reach their validation thresholds, but Tuesday’s count didn’t include ballots mailed or left at drop boxes. Pasco needed 754 more ballots. Richland was lagging by 872 ballots.
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Prosser, Finley and Burbank reached their validation marks, with 2,715 ballots returned so far for Prosser, 833 in Finley and 865 in Burbank.
Pasco voters rejected the $69.5 bond with about 54 percent of the votes in favor, roughly 6 percent less than they needed.
The bond would have paid for a new Stevens Middle School, two new elementary schools, four new classrooms at Marie Curie Elementary, along with improvements throughout the district.
Officials expected to put one of the 800-student schools on Road 84 north of Chiawana High School. A site for the other is not determined.
Other planned improvements include adding security foyers at 11 elementary schools, additional cameras at 12 schools, a safer drop-off area at Captain Gray and new heating and air conditioning systems at Livingston and Captain Gray.
The district estimates the bond would have added 39 cents per $1,000 to people’s property taxes, meaning a person with a $200,000 home would have paid an additional $78 a year.
Richland voters approved the $99 million bond by a margin of 1 percent. Sixty-one percent of the voters agreed and 39 percent rejected it.
Most of the bond, $60 million, would replace Tapteal and Badger Mountain elementary schools and build two new elementary schools.
One new elementary is planned near the intersection of Belmont Boulevard and Bluewood Street. School officials are still looking for a site in south Richland for the second.
Growth in enrollment from southern and West Richland, combined with state-mandated daylong kindergarten and reduced class sizes, is driving the need for more space, district officials said.
The remaining money is going to a series of projects, including renovating Richland High School’s auditorium, improvements at Fran Rish Stadium and the Hanford High athletic fields, and replacing the school district office.
The district estimates the 15-year bond could cost property owners an additional 49 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. A person with a $200,000 home would pay $98 more each year.
Prosser voters passed a $69.3 million bond aimed at replacing the high school and remodeling and expanding three elementary schools.
Seventy-three percent of the voters agreed with the measure and 26 percent voted no.
The bond would build a new high school next to Art Fiker Stadium. Along with replacing outdated electrical, plumbing and heating systems, the new school would provide more space for the 850 students enrolled.
Each of the three elementary schools are serving roughly twice what they were intended to hold.
The remaining money would pay to convert a portion of the current high school into an administration office.
The measure would add about $3.19 per $1,000 of assessed value to property taxes, meaning a person with a $200,000 home would pay about $638 per year.
It is the first time the district put a bond to the voters since the last attempt failed in 2011.
Finley’s $10 million bond is passing by less than a percentage point.
Voters approved the measure at 60.2 percent.
The bond would fix aging facilities throughout the district, including replacing the middle school roof, new lighting throughout all of the schools and changing the carpet in the elementary school.
Another $2.6 million would improve the district’s athletic fields and physical education programs, and $2.1 million would finish renovating the Career and Technical Education building and greenhouses.
The 20-year bond is estimated to add $1.44 per $1,000 of assessed value. People with a $200,000 home would pay about $288 a year.
Columbia School District voters in Burbank approved a $4.5 million bond.
Roughly 69 percent of the voters are in favor of the ballot.
The bond would build a new gym and two new elementary school classrooms.
The addition of a gym would mean students could use the multipurpose room as a cafeteria and allow them to add 25 minutes of instruction time to the day.
The first payment of the new bond would be about $1.54 per $1,000 of assessed value in 2018, which is a decrease from this year’s $1.78 per $1,000. People owning a $200,000 home would pay $308 in property tax in 2018 compared to $356.