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Hot lunch gets on the menu

"In a tight special election Tuesday, Oak Harbor voters passed two proposition that will bring a hot lunch program to the school district and inject $2.3 million into schools for more teachers, aides, and longer school days.The third proposition, for a $7.9 million stadium project, failed by a thin margin to get the 60 percent super-majority of yes votes required to pass.The two successful propositions were the first school levies to pass in the school district in 30 years. The mood at Citizens For Better Schools headquarters was jubilant when the results were posted on the county Web site at about 10:15 p.m.. The group of parents, teachers and community members campaigned hard to get the levies passed.It is absolutely fantastic, said Kathy Calfant, a co-chair of the Citizens For Better Schools. A boost to the whole town, to everyone's spirits.Kathy Jones, the school board president, popped open a champagne bottle as the final results came in. It's an extraordinary opportunity for us and we're going to make the best of it to improve student learning, she said.The four-year maintence and operation levy, which passed by a solid 64 percent, will allow the district to afford 20 more teachers, 13 instructional aides, and a longer school day, restoring the 30 minutes the elementary school day was shortened in 1991. The proposition also provides for auxiliary support in the form of textbooks, computers, supplies, staff development, maintenance, and custodial support. The cost of this levy is 70 cents per $1,000 of property valuation.The school lunch levy, which passed by 65 percent, will pay for the construction of food preparation facilities and support needs not directly chargeable to the federal lunch program. The cost of this levy is 7 cents per $1,000 of property valuation.The stadium bond, which failed with 57 percent approved, would have funded a new stadium at the high school. The 12-year bond would have added about 24 cents property tax per $1,000 of assessed value.Local opposition to the levies has centered on the increased taxes for property owners.The total number of ballots counted was 7,181. Of those, 4,351 were cast by absentee ballots, according to the Island County Auditor's Office. "

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