By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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The measures, both of which replace levies due to expire this year, were handily approved by voters after an initial count of special election ballots Tuesday, followed by a second count by the Jefferson County Auditor’s Office on Wednesday.
Of 4,182 Chimacum votes cast for a three-year educational programs and operations levy, 2,491 ballots, 63.99 percent, were in favor and 1,506, 36.01 percent, opposed.
In Brinnon, the margin for a two-year school maintenance and operation levy was narrower but no less decisive.
Of 498 Brinnon votes counted, 277 ballots, or 55.62 percent, were in favor and 221, 44.38 percent, were opposed.
Elections Supervisor Betty Johnson estimated that about 20 ballots could still arrive in the mail before the next scheduled count at
11 a.m. Friday.
Collection for both measures will begin in 2015.
Brinnon voter turnout was 51.98 percent, with 498 ballots being returned out of 958 issued.
In Chimacum, voter turnout was 49.09 percent, with 4,186 ballots returned out of 8,528 issued.
“I had a good feeling about it,” said Chimacum Schools Superintendent Rich Stewart.
“You are always a little nervous. It’s like going into a game, where you are never sure how it will come out, but we were pretty confident,” Stewart said.
“I am extremely pleased with the support from the Chimacum community for their schools, and we will use these dollars wisely for the benefit of our children.”
Chimacum High School Principal Whitney Meissner said the funds will support sports and music programs, and replace outdated textbooks.
“Every kid could tell you how old the textbooks are, and we will hopefully see these replaced as early as next year,” Meissner said.
In the Brinnon school, which serves students from kindergarten through eighth grade, funds will go toward the purchase of extra materials for the preschool program, which does not receive state subsidies, and for transportation of students to the Chimacum and Quilcene school districts for high school education.
“We are grateful for the voters’ support, especially in these tough economic times,” said Brinnon School Board Chairman Bill Barnet.
“We will use these funds to work as hard as we can to do the best for our kids.”
In Chimacum, some students were directly involved in the election. About 40 of them — about half of the senior class — are older than 18 and registered to vote.
“A lot of the kids voted for the first time in this election, and that was pretty cool,” Meissner said.
Meissner said Auditor Donna Eldridge visited the school in the fall to talk about the voting process, and this stimulated interest in the election.
The three-year Chimacum levy is expected to raise $9 million for the district over three years, assessing $1.67 per $1,000 of property value in 2015, $1.83 in 2016 and $1.99 in 2017. The current rate is $1.52 per $1,000.
Brinnon’s two-year levy does not increase from the present rate of $1.06 per $1,000 of property value — meaning a person owning a $200,000 home pays $212 a year.
It is expected to bring in $605,042 over two years.
In the Chimacum election, the Jefferson County Auditor’s Office counted 3,903 votes Tuesday and 279 Wednesday.
In the Brinnon election, 482 were counted Tuesday and 16 on Wednesday.
There were 56 undeliverable ballots in both elections.
The election is scheduled for certification at 8:30 a.m. Feb. 25.
Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or email@example.com.