Forks High School bonds failing to garner a supermajority

FORKS — Two bond measures for the Quillayute Valley School District were coming up short on Tuesday night.

Each required a 60 percent supermajority to pass.

Proposition 1, a $11 million bond to finance a replacement addition to Forks High School in an 83-year-old portion of the building that is too decrepit to use, received 688 yes votes out of 1,310 counted so far, or 52.52 percent.

The project would be matched by $7 million in state grants from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Meanwhile, Proposition 2, a $4 million bond that would finance construction of a covered stadium and multipurpose field, was failing with 551 out of 1,289 votes cast, or 42.75 percent.

The stadium bond measure hinged on passage of the replacement bond.

The sports facilities would not be funded, regardless of the passage of Proposition 2, without 60 percent approval of Proposition 1.

“It’s going to be tough to push us over the 60 percent supermajority level,” Quillayute Valley School District superintendent Diana Reaume said.

Ballots were sent to 45,766 registered voters across Clallam County, and Tuesday’s tally included all ballots received by 4:30 p.m. Friday — 24,242 ballots.

County Auditor Patty Rosand said her office had about 5,515 ballots in hand but not counted — 34,843 ballots in all, or a 76.1 percent return rate — and she expects another 6.000 to 7,000 ballots to have been cast by 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Rosand will update results by 4:30 p.m. Friday.

Reaume said the district faced “a couple obstacles” with the school bonds, including home assessments going up and the economic downturn.

“In my opinion, it could have been a lot worse with economy,” she said.

Quillayute Valley school board president Bill Rohde agreed.

“I’m sad and disappointed, if they hold,” Rohde said.

“I think it’s a real set-back for students, but in these economic times, I think I can understand.”

But Rohde said he was hopeful that the bonds would pass.

“It seemed like there was a lot of support across the community,” he said.

Prop. 1 would have set a tax rate of $1.46 per $1,000 assessed valuation. That means the owner of a $200,000 home would pay $292 more in property taxes.

The state matches funds based on a district’s entire enrollment.

In Forks, that includes the on-line Insight School of Washington. Insight more than doubles the enrollment of Quillayute School District.

The high school — most recently made famous by the Twilight

series of novels — was built in 1925.

The bond would have funded the completion of second phase of replacing the aging school.

Phase 1, which took most of the classrooms out of the oldest part of the building, occurred about five years ago.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-417-3537 or at [email protected]

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