School bond flunks

A sad group of school bond supporters conceded defeat Tuesday night as voters rejected the $45 million high school remodel bond measure. The final count was 53.4 percent yes votes, or 3,759, to 46.2 percent, and 3,228.

Although the yes votes were over 50 percent, they did not meet the 60 percent supermajority needed to pass.

Lynne Goebel, Citizens for Better Schools organizer, said the group will look at the measure again and come back at a later date.

Oak Harbor School District Superintendent Rick Schulte also expressed disappointment.

He said the school board will meet today and consider options, but they don’t have a plan B at this point.

Ideas include revamping the proposal in some way, such as restructuring the project itself, or putting some type of measure on another ballot as soon as May.

In speculating on why voters did not support the measure, Schulte said it could have something to do with the current political climate, or the economy.

“Anti-tax is a strong sentiment right now everywhere,” he said.

Scott Hornung, who has said from the beginning that the bond measure was flawed, was not surprised by the results, and faulted the Citizens for Better Schools “banking yes votes” strategy.

“Banking yes votes is a bankrupt policy,” he said. “It doesn’t build strong community support.”

Instead, Hornung felt the group should work on marketing any future proposals to long-term residents.

“It should pass on its own merits,” he said.

Schulte noted the district’s maintenance and operations levy did not pass on the first attempt, but after taking a community survey and holding hearings, they changed the proposition and it passed the second time.

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