After its proposed bond measure was soundly rejected by voters this week, the Mercer Island School District has no immediate plans to put the issue back on the ballot.
After the overwhelming defeat of the Mercer Island School District bond measure this week, the district isn’t rushing to bring the controversial issue back before voters, said Superintendent Gary Plano.
“Anytime you have that many people in opposition, it’s disappointing,” Plano said Wednesday. In the meantime, the “students keep coming” and crowding is a problem at the island’s three elementary schools and one middle school, which need to be replaced.
The district had argued that the $196.3 million bond measure was needed to replace Island Park, Lakeridge and West Mercer Elementary schools and Islander Middle School; to buy land for a new school; to modernize Mercer Island High; ; to improve the athletic stadium; and to modernize Mary Wayte Pool.
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Plano said the district needs to “reflect on why those who voted no did so” before it launches into another bond measure.
The bond proposal brought unusual dissension to the community and failed with almost 60 percent of voters rejecting it. To be approved, the bond measure needed 60 percent approval and a minimum turnout of 3,971. Some 8,147 votes were cast.
The overwhelming opposition disappointed district officials who spent a year coming up with that they thought was a workable solution to school overcrowding.
Citizens for Rational School Planning, the group that waged the opposition, said the defeat affirms its concerns about the bond. Many of the opponents are senior citizens who argued they’d be taxed out of the homes.
The bond measure would have cost homeowners $1.58 per $1,000 of assessed value for the next 20 years, in addition to other taxes that are already folded into property taxes.
“I think it’s been a somewhat acrimonious situation for the islanders,” said Geoffrey Spelman, an urban planner with the opposition group. “They aren’t used to having this much debate. We’ll let things quiet down for a bit” before suggesting another plan.
Nancy Bartley: 206-464-8522 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @BartleyNews.