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South Whidbey schools bond measure falling to defeat, Langley library annexation passing

Controversy over the closure of Langley Middle School appears to be dooming a $25 million bond measure to help pay for moving the school to the South Whidbey High School campus in early vote returns Tuesday night.

School officials have been talking openly in recent weeks about “What next?” if the 20-year bond proposal failed. And it appears that discussion will continue in earnest if votes continue to pile up against Proposition 1, which would devote $15 million to build new classrooms and a gym for middle school students at SWHS, and funnel another $10 million for essential repairs in South End schools.

Prop. 1 was falling to defeat voters – 57 percent to 42 percent – with 2,575 votes in favor, and 3,555 in opposition.

The measure needs a 60-percent “yes” vote to pass.

Island County officials expect to release the next vote tally at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

The South Whidbey School Board decided last year to close Langley Middle School, an iconic building near the heart of Langley that once housed generations of Langley High School Students. The closure was prompted by a $1.8 million budget gap created by declining enrollment.

The idea to mothball LMS, however, created a firestorm in the community and left a cloud of controversy that has been slow to dissipate.

District officials said earlier they have already been considering what to do next – which may include rerunning a ballot proposal in February – depending on the results of today’s election.

The proposal to annex Langley into Sno-Isle Libraries was passing Tuesday night.

The annexation proposal was getting the nod from city voters – 79 percent to 20 percent – with 349 voting for annexation into the two-county library district, and 88 opposed.

A total of 24,960 votes have been counted, with an estimated 6,000 left to count in the days ahead.

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