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Eastside voters were rejecting the Lake Washington School District’s school-construction bond issue, which was barely clearing 50 percent in first-day returns Tuesday night, falling short of the 60 percent required for passage. The measure — scaled back from $755 million to $404 million — was one of a handful of school-district measures on the special-election ballot.

In Snohomish County, construction-bond measures for the Everett and Lakewood districts were also failing, but Lakewood was close with 59 percent in favor. Everett had 57 percent.

The final tallies won’t be certified until May 6. All three districts failed to pass bonds by the required 60 percent in February.

Everett again sought $259.4 million and Lakewood tried again for $66.8 million. Districts can ask voters only twice a year to pass bond measures, so this was the last chance for 2014.

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The disappointing results for Lake Washington come the same week that the state is honoring the district with Washington Achievement Awards for 25 of its schools, including 17 schools recognized for overall excellence.

“On the one hand, we have had a great week because our schools are being recognized for the excellent work that they’re doing in educating kids,” said Lake Washington communications director Kathryn Reith. “And we have lots of people wanting to move to our district to go to those schools, but we have no place to put them.”

Opponents argued that the district’s building plans were too costly and hope that the school-district administration got the message this time.

“We’ve got to move forward with affordable schools,” said Mike Nykreim, chairman of the Affordable Schools Committee, which opposed the measure.

In February, the Lake Washington district asked for a $755 million measure to make room for an estimated 4,000 additional students expected in the next eight years. With 58 percent of voters in favor, the measure fell just short of passage.

With the current bond measure, Lake Washington still hoped to build three new elementary schools and a new middle school. It also wanted to replace and expand Juanita High School and build a smaller high school on the same campus that would focus on science, technology, engineering and math.

Tuesday’s smaller request dropped a proposed new high school with an international focus, and improvements to several schools.

John Higgins: 206-464-3145 or On Twitter @jhigginsST

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