Enumclaw school bonds pass by just four votes

The Enumclaw School District roller coaster ride is finally over. After two weeks of not passing, passing, not quite and maybe, the King County Elections Canvassing Board certified the proposition as approved with 60.05 percent support, 3,913 votes, a margin of four votes.

The Enumclaw School District roller coaster ride is finally over.

After two weeks of not passing, passing, not quite and maybe, the King County Elections Canvassing Board certified the proposition as approved with 60.05 percent support, 3,913 votes, a margin of four votes.

The measure had to reach 60 percent approval for it to pass.

Nancy Merrill, co-chair of the 4rKids4rFuture campaign, wrote an email following the certification, “Not a single act of advocacy by anyone on behalf of the campaign could have been omitted. I visualize a house of cards we were trying to build, and if one single effort (card) had not been extended by someone out there in the community, then the cards would have collapsed. It was that beautiful, that delicate, and that spectacular.”

On Election Day, April 28, the count was at 58.64 percent approval to 41.36 opposed, about 74 votes less than the required 60 percent.

April 30 was the first time the approval count moved over the 60 percent mark, by six votes. On May Day it dropped three votes under the line. May 4 it was one vote shy of the line.

May 6 the tally crept above 60 percent by one vote.

The day before certification Merrill said, “If there is ever a time when it shows your votes matter, this is the time.”

The bonds will be used to renovate Enumclaw High School, including construction of a two-story addition to replace aging classrooms, library, science labs, music facility, auditorium and gymnasium and upgrading systems in commons, offices and art/automotive wing. The funds will also be used to build a new Black Diamond Elementary School.

The proposition issues a maximum of $68.5 million in general obligation bonds maturing within 21 years.

According to the school district, the bond will not increase the current tax rate for property owners, which is $1.60 per $1,000 of assessed property value. The measure extends the bond that was passed for the construction of Thunder Mountain Middle School about 20 years ago. The Thunder Mountain bond expires in a year.

Superintendent Mike Nelson said during an April interview, the Enumclaw School Board developed a strategy to get the Black Diamond Elementary and Enumclaw High School in very good condition, rather than continuing to patch up problems.

“You can only do add-ons for so long,” Nelson said.

The superintendent also said the bonds allow the schools to be constructed with added safety measures for student and staff.

“What we would be able to do is lock down kids in parts of the building (for protection from an intruder) and exit others if the need arose,” Nelson said.

At the celebration party after the proposition passed, Merrill said, “The stories around the table were inspiring – emotional – and demonstrated this campaign was about grassroots reaching out to their friends, their neighbors and engaging voters. That’s what it takes for super-mobilizing voters to be advocates everywhere they are, and in everything they do.”


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