"School levy wins, parks bond ahead"

"South Whidbey voters showed their support for schools in resounding fashion Tuesday by voting 72 percent in favor of a two-year maintenance and operations levy.When the Island County Auditor's Office finished counting votes at 11 p.m., the school levy was ahead with 3,772 yes votes to only 1,458 no votes. Only a 60 percent majority was needed to pass.It's great, it's wonderful, said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Lisa Bjork. This represents the true spirit of the South Whidbey community.Debra Valis, co-chair of the citizens' levy committee, credited the big win to a person to person effort by many volunteers, and she thanked the community for its impressive support of schools.Seventy-two percent really makes a statement, added Dean Hatt, the other co-chair. The people knew it was on the line.For the South Whidbey Parks & Recreation District it's nail biting time again. Voters favored its $1,283,000 bond sale by 61 percent. The final count Tuesday was 3,153 yes to 2,013 no. If the vote holds, the district will purchase 30 acres of land for more ballfields and trails.Auditor Suzanne Sinclair and staff counted all absentee ballots it had received as of Tuesday. Elections officer LoAnn Gullick said approximately 1,000 ballots had not yet been returned, but she expected the bulk of those to arrive in the mail Wednesday.The school levy appears safe from the remaining absentees due to its huge lead, but absentees could turn the parks bond around. See Saturday's South Whidbey Record for the final results.Tuesday was the second try for both the school and parks proposals, as both had failed to garner 60 percent on the first go-round on Feb. 28. Another school levy failure would have resulted in extensive teacher layoffs and program cuts, but voters Tuesday made sure that would not happen."

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