Renton school officials looking at options if bond measure fails

Renton school officials were considering their options Wednesday following the likely failure of a $97 million bond measure to build a new middle school.

The bond measure needs a 60 percent yes vote for passage. The yes vote in Tuesday's special election climbed slightly after Wednesday’s tally to 57.17 percent.

Randy Matheson said Wednesday that overcoming a three-percent deficit was “highly unlikely.”

One option for the school board is to place the bond measure on the  April 17 special election ballot, the last election until the August primary election.

But to do so it would need to act at its Feb. 29 meeting to meet the deadline, Matheson said.

Two levies, the replacement maintenance and operations levy and the technology levy, were winning handily with a roughly 60 percent  yes vote after Wednesday’s count.

“We had a clear message from voters that the two levies are important,” said Matheson, noting they pay for day-to-day operations and for technology.

But it was clear from the results, Matheson said, that voters didn’t want to proceed with building or renovating schools. The school board has to balance that with the district’s “great needs,” he said.

The total vote for the technology  levy initially fell about 1,100 votes short of the total for the other levy and bond, likely because voters didn’t notice it on the back page of the ballot, Matheson said.

The district learned of its location after ballots were mailed; volunteers in their calls urged voters to turn over their ballots.


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