Richland and Pasco School Districts Hope for 60% Yes Vote for Bonds
KENNEWICK, Wash. --Tuesday is the deadline for both Benton and Franklin County voters to turn in their ballots dealing with two major school bonds.
While both counties have a high enough turnout for the election to count, the school districts are patiently awaiting the results. In order for both bond measures for Richland and Pasco to even count, at least 40% of the voters from the general election had to participate.
Friday, Pasco found out they had enough voters and Monday Richland found out they met the requirement as well. Now both school districts are hoping for a super majority yes vote, of 60 %
"I'd like to think that we've done everything that we're supposed to, but until 8:15 tomorrow night I'm nervous," said Mike Miller, the Chair of the Pasco Citizens For Better Schools Committee. Miller said every year, they are averaging about 600 new students a year, and the last bond to pass was almost 10 years ago which they used to build Chiawana High School.
"The land is used up so we can't add more portables," said Miller. The $46 million bond would build three new schools. If it fails, the school board has few options, to either put students on a year round multi-track schedule or double shifting.
Richland schools also deal with portables and overcrowding, but their biggest problem is the condition of three aging schools. "They keep telling us, you can't repair them. it will cost you 30 to 40% more to repair them than if you simply replaced them.," said John Deichman, the Chair for Richland Citizens For Good Schools.
The $98 million bond would build two new schools, and rebuild three old ones. it would also replace the HVAC system at chief Joseph and add a new home for the Home-Link program. "It's gone from 40 people to 400 people in 4 year," said Deichman.
Walla Walla School District wants voters to pass a $48 million bond for upgrades and renovations at Walla Walla High School.. Actual election results are not validated until February 26th. The deadline to turn in ballots is Tuesday at 8:00pm.