School district bond squeaks past the post

Published on Thu, May 24, 2001 by Brendan Shriane

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School district bond squeaks past the post

By Brendan Shriane

Blaine’s $20 million school bond has passed by the slimmest of margins.

Currently, the yes votes are at 1258 (61 percent) out of a total of 2060 cast. Although the margin is extremely thin, Whatcom County auditor Shirley Forslof is confident the results will hold up. “With any remaining ballots, we’d expect the trend to be the same,” she said. “The vote is highly unlikely to change, but you never know until the vote is certified.”

Any remaining absentees and 24 special ballots will be counted May 25 and the vote will be certified at that time.

The auditor’s office counted 288 absentee ballots on Friday morning, 180 (62.5 percent) supporting the bond. Late absentees are slightly more in favor of the measure than the absentees counted on election night. That night, only 56 percent of the absentees were for the bond, which needed a 60 percent supermajority to pass.

Strongest support for the levy was in the Blaine precincts with 65 percent of 767 votes in favor of the bond. Custer/Birch Bay voters were the least in favor of the ballot issue – only 57 percent of the 674 votes in those three precincts were in favor.

School officials were obviously happy with the results. “We were real pleased, especially when looking at the challenges of this bond. We were concerned with the current economic environment,” Blaine superintendent Gordon Dolman said.

Dolman added he was concerned by the string of recent bad news about jobs in Whatcom County. “Especially when Intalco announced it might be shutting down,” Dolman said. “We knew we had to work with the community to get this bond passed. We had to convince the public that this was something that benefits the whole community, not just the schools.”

The bond will cost homeowners about $60 a year on a $100,000 home.
Dolman said the school district would now get started on installing a new phone system and building new classrooms in the middle and high schools.

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