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News / Politics / Election

Camas schools’ $120M passing by slim margin

It must earn supermajority, or 60% of votes

By Adam Littman, Columbian Staff Writer
Published: February 9, 2016, 9:38pm

The Camas School District’s $120 million bond was passing Tuesday night by a small margin.

The bond received 61.07 percent approval, according to preliminary election results released Tuesday night. To pass, bonds require a supermajority, or 60 percent of the vote. More ballots in the election are expected to trickle in during the next few days.

“Sitting at 61-plus percent, we’re pretty confident that the supermajority will still stand,” Camas Superintendent Mike Nerland said. “The winners tonight are the students of Camas, both future and current, and the entire community.”

The bond money will go toward a standalone high school to be built on Camas High School’s campus, as well as a new, larger Lacamas Heights Elementary School, to be built north of Lacamas Lake near new housing developments.

As of Tuesday night, 5,983 votes had been counted in the bond election, with 3,654 voters in favor and 2,329 against.

“Getting that supermajority is not an easy task,” Nerland said. “It just shows how the Camas community values education.”

The bond tax rate is 48 cents per $1,000 of assessed home value, starting in 2017. A $300,000 home would see an increase of $144 annually.

The passing of the bond also could mean renovations, including seismic upgrades for the high school’s Garfield building and restoration of the Garver Theater inside the building for community education programs and preschool programs.

Other Camas schools could see security upgrades, including controlled school entries, upgraded fencing, new lighting and security technology, as recommended recently by a district advisory committee. Money also could be spent on buying property for additional schools, and making repairs to roofing, flooring, heating and cooling, lighting, disability access and mechanical systems.

Columbian Staff Writer