Voters in Clarkston said no to a school bond and voters in Pullman unseated two longtime school board incumbents Tuesday.

Clarkston's school construction bond crept to more than 50 percent approval after failing to gain a simple majority in two previous attempts. But school bonds in Washington require a 60 percent supermajority to pass.

Results Tuesday evening showed 50.63 percent in favor of the $60.5 million, 25-year bond, with 2,326 for and 2,268 against. The proposal called for replacing much of Clarkston High School and making improvements to other schools in the Clarkston School District.

The cities of Lewiston, Idaho, and Clarkston, Wash.
The cities of Lewiston, Idaho, and Clarkston, Wash. Dsdugan, via Wikimedia Commons

Ballots were mailed Oct. 20 and had to be postmarked by Tuesday.

The bond would have cost the owner of a home valued at $200,000 about $498 per year, at an estimated tax rate of $2.49 per $1,000 assessed property value.

The proposed $73 million project included $12.5 million in funds the district would have received from the state had the bond passed.

A $38 million bond proposal was rejected in 2014, with just 48.06 percent in favor. A $46.8 million bond in 2011 garnered just 43 percent approval.

Superintendent Tim Winter said it's too early to say whether the Clarkston School Board will opt to run the measure again in February, when a school levy election is planned.

"Once it all shakes out, we'll have to see where we are," Winter said.

He pinned the cause of the defeat on cost.

"I would say probably I think the real issue here was the money," Winter said. "And I guess that's the part that's the hardest to understand. At some point, someday, we're going to have to pass a bond, and it's not going to get any cheaper."

Citizens committee volunteer Jennifer Shubert said nearly 400 community members helped make phone calls, knock on doors and distribute fliers.

"I think for a community our size that is something we should be incredibly proud of," Shubert said.

Winter echoed Shubert's sentiment.

"There's a lot of great people in this room who've worked really hard to better our community, and we're just so appreciative of that," he said.

Pullman School Board

Two new faces will join the Pullman School Board after longtime members Karl Johanson and Dean Kinzer were defeated Tuesday.

Nathan Roberts will replace Johanson for the District 4 position after earning 989 votes to Johanson's 880, for 52.92 percent of the vote.

"I'm just really excited that the people of Pullman put their faith in me, and I hope that I can be worthy of it," Roberts said. "I think Karl has done a really great job, and I just hope to do as well as he did honestly. He served a long time, with distinction. I really hope to just keep up the good work."

Johanson, who served nearly 20 years on the school board, said he expects Roberts will find the job more challenging than he expected, but wishes him the best.

"I wish him well," he said. "I know he's invested in Pullman's kids, and he ran a good campaign."

Johanson's longtime fellow board member, Dean Kinzer, lost his seat to newcomer Amanda Tanner. Tanner received 1,056 votes to Kinzer's 857, earning 55.2 percent of the vote.

"It's my honor to represent the community and to work on a positive educational environment, and I look forward to creating unity and being sure there's accountability in those making decisions," Tanner said. "I would just reiterate that I appreciate the service that all the school board members have given over their tenure on the school board."

Like Johanson, Kinzer said his successor likely will find the job can be tough.

"I think she'll be just fine in the position," he said. "It's a steep learning curve when you're going into that position, because there's a lot of things that you need to learn before you can do a really reasonable job on a school board. I think it probably takes a couple years to get in a position where you know exactly what's going on."

Kinzer, who also serves as a Whitman County commissioner, said he's proud of the work he and Johanson accomplished on the school board.

"It's been a good ride for me, I've enjoyed it," he said. "It's been an honor and a privilege to serve on that school board - I'm just wishing (Tanner) the best."

Tribune Content Agency