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After another round of vote counting almost a full week after election day, the Ellensburg School District elementary school bond proposal eked out enough votes to cross the 60 percent threshold needed to pass.

The bond proposal includes the construction of a brand new elementary school to be built north of Mount Stuart Elementary School, along with renovations to Mount Stuart and Lincoln elementary schools.

The Daily Record broke the news to school board president Jennifer Hackett, who was shopping at Fred Meyer when she was reached for comment.

“That makes me so happy,” Hackett said. “The fact is we just would have had to go out again in February. The reality is we’re already one elementary school behind and we would have looked at redoing the plan, but this was really the best plan.”

If the bond holds on, the district won’t be losing out on several state funding sources, including $750,000 for unhoused students at the end of the Morgan Middle School project, as well as an $800,000 grant for pre-school. Those funds would have been lost even if the board had gone back out for a bond in February.

Hackett said the board wasn’t counting on the bond passing after last Tuesday’s early results, but were kind of stuck in limbo for a little bit while more votes trickled in.

“There was no point in moving ahead,” Hackett said.

An architect selection committee will meet to interview the final three firms in a set of all day interviews scheduled for most of the day Tuesday. This committee will recommend hiring one or two of the remaining three firms to the board.

The bond went from 58.86 percent approved on election night, to 59.5 percent after a count on Friday. County employees in the auditor’s office worked through the holiday weekend counting additional ballots, and the total sat at 61.86 percent as of Monday. According to the auditor’s website, an estimated 784 ballots remain to be counted.

Voter turnout is at 72.54 percent so far out of 18,703 ballots. According to the auditor’s website, there are 784 ballots still to count. The election is officially certified on Nov. 27.

Project parameters

By building new and renovating the two older elementary schools, the plan is to increase capacity in the district by 750 seats over five or six years, giving the district a total of 1,800 seats.

The new school would be constructed first, then depending on which school is renovated first, Mount Stuart or Lincoln students would be moved to the new school during the renovations.

The proposal would decrease the Ellensburg School District tax rate by 30 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value and keep it there. This is due to the local levy being capped at $1.50 per $1,000 by the state Legislature and Ellensburg High School getting paid off in 2021.

Another important aspect of the project is not just the seats in the classrooms, but the core spaces, like the cafeterias and gyms. It also will add proper infrastructure for more security, and revamped HVAC systems to help with heating, cooling and air quality during smoky days.

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