Oak Harbor school bond fails with 53% approval

A sad group of school bond supporters conceded defeat Tuesday night as North Whidbey voters rejected a $45 million high school remodel bond measure.

The final count was 53.4 percent "yes" votes, or 3,759, to 46.2 percent or 3,228 votes on the "no" side.

Although the "yes" votes were over 50 percent, they did not meet the 60 percent supermajority the measure needed to pass.

Lynne Goebel, a Citizens for Better Schools organizer, said the group will look at the measure again and come back at a later date.

Oak Harbor School District Superintendent Rick Schulte also expressed disappointment. He said the district's board of education met this week to consider options.

Ideas include revamping the proposal in some way, such as restructuring the project itself, or putting some type of measure on another ballot as soon as May.

In speculating on why voters did not support the measure, Schulte said it could have something to do with the current political climate, or the economy.

"Anti-tax is a strong sentiment right now everywhere," he said.

Schulte noted the district's recent maintenance and operations levy did not pass on the first attempt, but after taking a community survey and holding hearings, the district changed the proposition and it passed the second time.

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