Arlington school construction bond failing in third try

The new measure aimed to allow the district to tear down Post Middle School and replace it.

EVERETT — As results rolled in for Tuesday night’s special election, the Arlington School District bond measure was again failing to reach a 60 percent approval threshold.

A proposal to dissolve Snohomish County Fire District 1 had a different outcome. As of Tuesday night, it was passing by a nearly 91 percent yes vote — with 12,933 in favor and 1,281 against.

This is the school district’s third try to pass a bond which would pay for school construction and better security. It received 51 percent voter approval as of Tuesday night at 8:15 p.m. with 3,423 votes for and 3,213 against.

The election’s results may change as mailed-in ballots continue to be counted.

The district’s proposed measure sought up to $96 million.

After two failed attempts at passing bonds last year, school officials shaved $11.5 million and several projects off the earlier proposal of $107.5 million.

The February and November 2018 packages reached 55 and 52 percent approval. That’s short of the 60 percent supermajority required by state law.

The new measure aimed to allow the district to tear down the existing Post Middle School and replace it with a $75 million building, Brian Lewis, the executive director of operations, said previously. It would have also funded about $10 million in additions to Arlington High School and improved security throughout the district.

Arlington Superintendent Chrys Sweeting said the district will continue to monitor votes over the next few days.

She wasn’t sure if the snowy weather affected the outcome.

“It may have, but we don’t know for sure,” she said.

If the bond still fails after a final vote count, Sweeting said the district and school board will go back to the community for feedback on why they voted yes or no.

The vote to dissolve Snohomish County Fire District 1 was mostly symbolic. That department has not existed — in the sense of having fire trucks on the streets — since October 2017.

At that time, voters in District 1 and the city of Lynnwood approved creation of a regional fire authority known as South County Fire. The new agency absorbed all of the functions of District 1. Voters are now being asked to approve District 1’s dissolution by the end of 2019.

Service is unaffected by the measure. All firefighters from District 1 became employees of South County Fire when it was formed.

“We’re very pleased by the overwhelming support of Fire District 1,” said Jim Kenny, chairman of the South County Fire Board of Commissioners. “This allows us to streamline local government.”

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