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Thursday, September 28, 2023
Sept. 28, 2023

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Ridgefield school bond failing in early returns

Measure previously failed twice in 2020

By , Columbian staff writer

Early special election results are showing that Ridgefield School District’s proposed $62.57 million general obligation bond is failing — yet another letdown for Ridgefield officials who saw the bond fail twice at the ballot box in 2020.

As of Tuesday night, 57.31 percent of voters in Ridgefield voted in favor of the measure. The bond requires a 60 percent supermajority in order to pass.

If it does indeed pass, the bond would fund the construction of a new elementary school and an expansion to Ridgefield High School. District officials say rapid population growth in recent years has led to dramatic overcrowding in schools, especially at the elementary level.

Despite the initial results, Ridgefield’s superintendent shared a message of support, looking forward to seeing the remaining votes come in.

“We are deeply grateful for the support we received from the Ridgefield community,” said Superintendent Nathan McCann in a statement on Tuesday night. “Our work to provide equitable learning opportunities for the students in our district will continue, and we will be eagerly watching as votes continue to be counted over the coming days.”

Proponents of the bond took to the streets on Jan. 21 to raise awareness for the bond. Georgianna Jones, a campaign manager at Citizens for Ridgefield Schools, a coalition of community members pushing to pass the bond, referred to this year’s attempt at passing the bond as a “breaking point.”

Census data shows that Ridgefield’s population has more than doubled in the last decade, from 4,763 residents in 2010 to 10,319 in 2020. The average elementary school enrollment in Ridgefield is 686 students, compared with just 490 in Vancouver and 520 in Evergreen.

Votes will continue to be counted in the coming days. Clark County Elections reported 17,000 ballots left to count, with the next set of results due out at 4 p.m. today.