Voters left leaders of several Snohomish County school districts reeling Tuesday as bond measures in Edmonds, Arlington, Snohomish and Mukilteo were failing.
In addition, voters appeared to have rejected a capital levy in Marysville to rebuild two elementary schools and were voting down levies in the Lakewood and Darrington districts to pay for academic programs and staffing not funded by the state.
The next update of results is expected at 5 p.m. Wednesday. Historically, support for bonds and levies in area school districts improves in later tallies.
State rules for passing bonds and levies are different. A bond requires 60% percent support, while a simple majority is enough to enact a capital levy as well as four-year educational programs and operations levies.
The Edmonds School District had the largest measure on the county ballot, a $600 million bond to build a new middle school and elementary, replace three other schools and construct an alternative learning center. As of Tuesday night, the bond was failing with 54.1% support.
Voters in the district did show support for a four-year, $96 million technology and capital levy, which was passing with 55.9%.
“We’re really happy to see the numbers for the levy,” said Harmony Weinberg, an Edmonds district spokesperson. “It’s really important for the district, with this capital and technology levy, to continue to do the great work we’re doing with students. As for the bond, it’s not what we want to see, but we’re going to continue to watch the results as they come in.”
In Arlington, support for a $71.5 million bond to pay for replacing Post Middle School was 51.7%, well below the threshold required for passage.
However, 52.2% of voters were backing a separate four-year, $25 million capital levy to pay for campus safety improvements and additional classrooms at Arlington High School. And a solid 54.8% approved of a new four-year educational-programs and operations levy.
“We are humbled by the support of our community to continue providing the current level of staffing and services,” said Arlington Superintendent Chrys Sweeting of the levy’s success. “We spent a lot of time listening to and learning from our community in preparing these three measures. While the results of the bond are not at the percentage needed to pass, we remain hopeful.”
Mukilteo’s $240 million bond was on the edge of passing with 59.3% approval. It would pay for additions to Challenger, Horizon and Discovery elementary schools and Mariner High School, and for additions to and partial replacement of Mukilteo and Serene Lake elementaries and Explorer Middle School.
It was a much different story in the Snohomish School District, where 54.6% of voters were rejecting a proposed $470 million bond to replace and renovate elementary schools, upgrade security equipment on every campus and minimize the use of portable classrooms.
“We know where the numbers are now and where we’re at,” said Snohomish Superintendent Kent Kultgen. “The need is still there and I think our community knows this.”
He said it is too soon to know the reasons for voters’ decision. “We’ll wait and look at the data.”
In Marysville, nearly 60% of voters were opposing the district’s six-year $120 million capital levy. The levy was intended to pay for rebuilding Liberty and Cascade elementary schools.
Monroe voters were turning down a six-year, $12.3 million technology levy by a margin of 54.3% to 45.7%. The district hoped to use the funds for classroom computers, software upgrades and digital training for students.
In the Lakewood School District, 57.3% of voters were rejecting a four-year educational-programs and operations levy and an almost equal amount, 55%, were turning down a four-year technology levy.
And in Darrington, a two-year supplemental levy to fund academic programs was being rejected by 59% in Snohomish County. Results from the Skagit County end of the district were not available Tuesday night.
In one of the few successes Tuesday, a new four-year educational-programs and operations levy for the Stanwood-Camano School District was passing with roughly 57%.
Tuesday night’s totals reflect 24.44% of returned ballots.
As of Tuesday, 26% of all ballots had been returned, according to the Snohomish County Auditor’s Office. The office was expecting about 30% voter turnout, Auditor Garth Fell said Monday.