The $9.9 million bond proposition to renovate and improve Chewelah schools appears to have been rejected by voters in the district, according to preliminary results released Tuesday evening, Feb. 12, by the Stevens County Auditor.
The proposition has received 1,011 (55%) votes in favor of the bond and 827 (45%) votes opposing the proposal. Under Washington law, a 60 percent super-majority approval is needed to pass this type of bond measure.
The bond, along with state matching funds, would have allowed Chewelah school district to renovate Jenkins High School in order to accommodate grades 7-12; upgrade safety, heating and cooling, mechanical, electrical, and technology systems; update existing classrooms and gymnasium; build additional classrooms, an all-weather track, and a new multipurpose room for performing arts and gym space; and improve portions of Gess Elementary school. Due to declining enrollment, the district says it is faced with the need to consolidate students from Jenkins Middle School and Jenkins High School into one facility.
Other school measures in the county appear to have passed. Wellpinit, Summit Valley, and Mary Walker school districts each had Maintenance & Operation (M&O) Levy propositions on the Feb. 12 Special Election ballot. M&O levy proposals require 50 percent voter approval to pass.
Wellpinit’s two-year M&O levy has received 48 (70%) votes in favor of the proposal and 21 (30%) votes against. The levy will raise $30,000 per year.
Summit Valley’s four-year M&O levy has received 101 (65%) votes in favor of the proposition and 54 (35%) votes against. The levy will raise $68,500 per year.
Mary Walker (Springdale) school district’s four-year M&O levy has received 312 (56%) votes in favor of the proposal and 245 (44%) votes against. The levy will raise $225,000 per year.
According to the auditors office, slightly more than 39 percent of the 6,693 registered voters turned out for this special election in the 14 affected precincts. A total of 2,621 ballots have been counted with an estimated 300 ballots remaining. Election officials will conduct the next ballot count on Friday, Feb. 15 at 10 a.m. Election results will be officially certified on Tuesday, Feb. 26.
By Jared Arnold The Independent Staff
In This Photo: Members of the Chewelah Citizens for Kids make an effort to persuade voters to vote in favor of the Chewelah capital improvement bond proposal on Feb. 6. Jared Arnold photo