ANACORTES — The third time is the charm for the Anacortes School District, as preliminary election results show the district’s proposed $86.9 million bond issue request finally meets voter approval.
Early numbers released by the Skagit County Auditor’s Office shortly after 8 p.m. Tuesday show the proposal passing with almost 63 percent approval.
Bond measures require 60 percent voter approval to pass.
“I’m extremely proud of our entire community for doing the right thing,” Citizens for Anacortes School’s co-campaign chair Treva King said.
Similar, less-costly proposals had been made in 2007 and 2008, but neither garnered enough votes to pass.
Superintendent Mark Wenzel announced the news to a group of volunteers and supporters on Tuesday evening.
“We’re going to have a tremendous amount of community pride because we’ve done this right,” he said.
A 32-member facilities committee, which included Mayor Laurie Gere and Police Chief Bonnie Bowers, helped come up with a plan and cost for the proposal, which will see 60 percent new construction to the high school and 40 percent renovation, most of which will be to Brodniak Hall and the gym.
A portion of the bond will also be used for upgrades at the elementary school level.
The initial proposal considered by the district and the board came with a near $90 million price tag. But with state matching funds and a $1 million donation from an Anacortes family, voter responsibility decreased to $86.9 million over the bond’s 20-year lifetime.
“It’s our future generation,” said Linda Hendricks, who, with her husband Jeff donated the $1 million to lower the bond’s price tag. “Our biggest resource is our children.”
Jeff Hendricks said the donation was to support the schools and also inspire the community to do the same.
“We believe in the school,” he said. “(We’re) very, very happy. We will continue to support the Anacortes students.”
In total, the bond adds 58 cents per $1,000 of assessed value per year for property owners within the district. For the owner of a $300,000 house, that’s an extra $174 per year.
With passage of the bond proposal, the total combined school tax rate for Anacortes property owners will be about $3.11 per $1,000 valuation. The projected Anacortes valuation includes costs for both the technology and maintenance and operations levies, which voters approved in February 2014.
The bond approval comes in the wake of the community’s celebration of 90 years of the Seahawks mascot, Wenzel said, and allows the community more opportunity to celebrate the school’s legacy.
“This continues that legacy,” Wenzel said. “This is going to allow us to create a new Seahawk legacy that is going to make this community burst with pride.”
Students were also excited about the proposal’s passage.
“I’m so excited to be able to come back and see it in a few years,” junior Hannah Swartos said.
Construction on the new high school, which is planned to be around 100,000 square feet, is set to be completed in 2018.
While they won’t get to enjoy the new building, current students were glad to know others would get to enjoy it.
“It’s about doing something that’s bigger than ourselves, that’s about future generations,” junior Kai Perschbacher said. “Knowing that we left this community better than when we found it.”
The Auditor's Office will release another ballot count at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.