A proposed $112 million school bond in the Ferndale School District maintaining enough approval votes to reach beyond the more than 60% supermajority approval needed to pass, according to updated Special Election results provided by the Whatcom County Auditor’s Office tonight, Wednesday, February 13th.
With 8,838 ballots counted so far, 5,423 people (61.36 percent) approved the measure while 3,415 (38.64 percent) opposed it.
The next ballot count will be reported Thursday at 5pm. The auditor’s office says there is an estimated 850 ballots yet to be counted. That number does not include those that may be in the mail or in transit from ballot drop off locations that remained open until 8pm last night.
The bond proposal on the ballot is identical to the one that received
58.64% support on the November 2018 General Election ballot. It was decided to quickly return the proposal to the voters and doing so did not allow enough time to make any adjustments and get them approved before the filing deadline.
In addition to receiving the 60% supermajority, to validate the Special Election, at least 40% voters must vote as voted in the November General Election. With 15,224 votes cast in November, more than 6,090 votes, either in support or opposed, would be required to vote on the bond. Voter turnout during special elections in 2006 and 2008 was 6,875 and 6,750 respectively.
If approved, the $112 million bond issue would be used to build a new 2-story high school to replace existing Ferndale High School classrooms, modernize the auditorium and make repairs and upgrades to the elementary and middle schools.
The $112 million in bonds would be repaid through new annual property tax levies over a period of up to 22 years. The tax rate is estimated at about $0.90 per $1,000 in assessed property value for the first 3 years and then about $1.66 for the years following. The discounted rate would coincide with the remaining years of taxes due on an existing 2006 school bond issue (currently at about $0.74).