Pasco school officials will have some thinking to do after a second bond measure was failing Tuesday night.
The measure needs 60 percent of all votes to pass; it had 58 percent, or 4,416 votes, saying yes.
The Franklin County Auditor’s Office reported 42 percent, or 3,231 people, voted against the $99.5 million bond measure.
“I think everyone is disappointed in the results from our side,” School Board President Scott Lehrman said. “We’re keeping positive and looking into the future.”
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Lehrman thanked everyone who worked to get the message out about the challenges the district faces with overcrowding.
“We want to thank those who turned out to vote in this election.” he said. “Overcrowding continues to be an issue in our schools and the district will continue to work to find solutions to address it.”
The measure would cost 59 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. People with a $200,000 home would pay $118 a year for two new elementary schools, a reconstructed Stevens Middle School and a fourth middle school.
Another count is expected tomorrow.
The measure is the culmination of almost nine months of work for district officials who suffered a defeat in February when a $69.5 million bond failed.
After that loss, the school district turned to MGT Consulting to help structure the new bond. The company was developing a long-term plan for the district’s buildings at the time.
The consultants provided a report that showed all but four elementary schools were overcrowded, along with McLoughlin Middle School and the two high schools, Pasco and Chiawana.
They recruited a team of about 30 community members who helped develop the plan for the current bond. The Community Builders group will meet again in December.
School districts can only put a proposition in front of voters twice in one calendar year. They could send another measure to voters as early as January.
The next step for the school board is to determine whether sixth graders will move back to the middle school, which was part of the Community Builders group’s recommendation.
The decision depends on things like enrollment, growth projections, community input and the finished long-range plan for the district’s facilities.
“It’s a process that will include broad community engagement, and we’re confident that a comprehensive solution can be found,” said Shane Edinger, the district’s director of public affairs.
It’s not certain when the school board will address the bond, whether or not it fails. The issue isn’t on the agenda for next weeks school board meeting Nov. 14.