School bond may pass

After an early count Tuesday night, the Oak Harbor High School renovation bond surpassed the 60 percent supermajority needed for approval.

As of a count released at 8:02 p.m., 3,234 voters approved the bond while 1,926 voters rejected it. That puts the approval rate at 62.67 percent.

All the votes counted so far appear to be mail-in ballots.

Officials and volunteers are cautiously optimistic about the early results, but want to wait until further counts are available before celebrating. The Auditor’s Office did not update the count as of 10:30 p.m.

“Everybody here is extremely pleased,” Superintendent Rick Schulte said while he was with a group of school officials, board members and bond supporters Tuesday night waiting for the results. “It’s not enough to declare victory.”

The $54 million bond funds renovation of Oak Harbor High School. Preliminary plans include expanding the high school by 38,000 square feet and updating the school’s aging infrastructure. The extra space would provide room for 14 to 20 classrooms and wider hallways.

In addition to the bond money, the school district is expected to receive $19.33 million in matching money from the state.

If the bond is approved, property owners will see an increase of approximately 85 cents per $1,000 assessed value. The bonds are expected to be paid off in 15 years.

The approval of Tuesday’s bond election would be the third measure voters approved over the past 14 months benefiting the Oak Harbor School District. In March 2005, voters approved a four-year maintenance and operations levy. Then, in November 2005, voters approved a $6.5 million that paid for construction of a new athletic facility at Oak Harbor High School.

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