It looks like it's back to the drawing board once again for the Eastmont School District after its second attempt in the last two months at passing a $117 million bond measure appears to have failed.

The bond is seeking to make major renovations at four elementary schools in the district, as well as enhanced security and accessibility improvements at all of its schools.

Eastmont Superintendent, Becky Berg, says she believes part of the issue with passing the bond has been the requirements set forth by the state to do so.

"In Eastern Washington it's hard to get sixty percent of the voting population to agree on anything. So I would argue that the super majority is not a fair threshold for public school buildings."

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As of Friday, tallies from the Douglas County Auditor's Office show the bond receiving 5,057 "yes" votes (58.91%) and 3,527 (41.09%) "no" votes, which marked an increase of one full percentage point over Tuesday's initial results of 57.91% in favor.

Voter turnout for the April 23 Special Election is currently listed at 39.38%, and Berg says that number will need to increase in future elections.

"I think we do have a bit of voter apathy. Our older voters tend to vote in four elections a year but sometimes the age group associated with our elementary school parents aren't as active in the voting process. So in the long-term, that needs to change as well. I don't know that we'll ever change the hearts and minds of the people who vote 'no' against every school measure, I'm more concerned with the folks who aren't voting."

Berg says she's uncertain what the District's next move will be but for now her focus remains on dealing with the issues facing its aging school properties.

"This really was our backup plan. We didn't ask the voters for what we wanted, we only asked for what we desperately needed. We've got structure and systems failures that we're still experiencing. Our maintenance crew is amazing but there's only so much they can do with facilities that are as old as 1939."

Berg adds she's optimistic that a miracle might occur and isn't giving up hope for the bond to pass until the election results are certified on May 3.

If the District does decide to place the issue before voters again prior the end of 2024, they must alter either the amount of money being sought or it's intended purpose or both.

The next special election will take place on August 6.

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