It’s official, levy passes by slim margin

The final results of Oak Harbor’s levy election were released Wednesday, finishing officially with 51.4 percent voter approval.

Postmarked ballots were still trickling in this week, including some from overseas, from the March 10 election.

This year was the district’s closest election since the levy’s passage in 2001. In 2005, the levy passed by a solid 68 percent, and at 64 percent in 2001. In prior years, 60 percent minimum was needed to pass a school levy, but the standard has been lowered to 50 percent, which made a success of Oak Harbor’s primary proposal, called Levy 1.

Levy 2, aimed at boosting math and technology, failed after garnering only 44 percent voter support.

The Island County Auditor’s Office said that although there is about a 250 vote difference for Levy 1, a recount isn’t necessary.

Wednesday afternoon, the canvassing board resolved about five “unusual” ballots that were either unsigned, postmarked too late or had mismatched signatures. The office did not encounter any machine problems.

The final tally was 4,601 votes yes, 4,353 no.

By passing the measure, the district averted what many said would have been devastating cuts to programs and staff.

Next year, property taxes will jump from 51 cents per thousand, to 74 cents.

Supported under the levy are lunch programs, 20 teachers, 12 support staff, two computer technicians and several Advanced Placement courses.

For the district’s first all mail-in election, 12,209 people participated, or about 42 percent voter turnout.

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