AP NEWS

Burlington-Edison school bond continues to fail

February 16, 2019
A rabbit hops across the walkway that passes between portables that make up Burlington-Edison North. The site of the alternative high school campus is being considered for the Burlington-Edison School District’s proposed middle school.

With about 200 ballots left to count, the Burlington-Edison School District’s $98.3 million bond issuance request in the Tuesday election is likely to fail.

As of Friday afternoon, nearly 53 percent of voters in the district are approving the bond request, most of which would be used to build a middle school to house the district’s seventh- and eighth-graders.

Bonds, however, require a 60 percent super majority to pass.

“It’s disappointing,” Burlington-Edison School Board President Rich Wesen said. “Especially because we think we had a good program for the students.”

Building a middle school would have ended the district’s longstanding K-8 tradition. In exchange, district officials say they would have been able to offer more elective opportunities for middle-school-aged students.

The district has the option of running the proposal again this year. However, Wesen said a discussion on whether to do so has not yet taken place.

Part of that discussion, he said, will depend on the state Legislature.

Educators, including state Superintendent Chris Reykdal, are asking legislators to lower the bond approval threshold to a simple majority — meaning 50 percent plus one.

Three other Skagit County school districts with proposals on Tuesday’s ballot — Concrete, La Conner and Mount Vernon — continued to get good news.

Voters in the Mount Vernon School District were approving both its replacement educational programs and operations (EPO) levy as well as a two-year $4.7 million replacement safety and technology levy. The levies are passing with 59 percent and 58 percent of the vote.

Levies require a simple majority to pass.

In the La Conner School District, support for the district’s two-year replacement EPO levy is at 70 percent, and in the Concrete School District support for a two-year replacement EPO levy is at 68 percent.

Results of the election are to be certified Feb. 22.