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School bond advocates eye next step
After a sound defeat, supporters of the Sequim School District’s $154 million construction bond are headed back to the proverbial drawing board.
After an April 25 ballot tally, the measure that would have seen taxpayers in the district fund building of a new elementary school and major remodels of Sequim High School and Greywolf Elementary School and other projects is failing 6,693 no votes to 5,387 yes votes — a 55.4-44.6 split.
The school board may place a proposal on the general election ballots this November.
That proposal may or may not have similar numbers and projects attached. Dave Mattingley, Citizens for Sequim Schools’ band chairman, said he heard plenty of feedback from community members about why they voted against approving the bond issue.
“The big (reason) is that the number is just too big,” Mattingley said.
Kelly Shea, Sequim schools superintendent, said following the election night defeat on April 22 that, “I didn’t hear at any forums that the high school renovation wasn’t needed. That we didn’t need a new elementary school. That the middle school didn’t need a new roof. They said it was too much money.”
Sequim’s school board members — president John Bridge and Sarah Bedinger, Mike Howe, Bev Horan and Walter Johnson — meet next at 7 p.m. on Monday, May 5.
“They (school board member) are the ones that have to make that decision,” Mattingley said. “We have the community’s attention. We’ve got to go back and educate them.”
Shea said many people at forums gave suggestions too late and that he and the school board would need their help now.
“We want to engage the people who came out at the end (of the campaign) and help us paint a picture of what our schools should look like in this community,” he said. “They said they would come.”
Voters in Sequim weren’t the only ones rejecting the idea of seeing taxes raised to build schools. In February, Washington state voters approved less than half — 11 of 24 — school district bond issues.
Eight of the 13 bond issues that failed in February — Bridgeport, Everett, Highland, Lakewood, Lake Washington, Oakesdale, Readerdan-Edwall and Tenino — came back to voters two months later, and were failing as of April 22.
Lakewood, in Snohomish County, was passing but .05 percent as of April 25.