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News / Politics / Clark County Politics

Ridgefield school bond still failing to get supermajority in second round of election results

Camas’ emergency medical services levy will pass

By Griffin Reilly, Columbian staff writer
Published: April 24, 2024, 3:07pm

Wednesday’s second round of ballots counted in Tuesday’s special election yielded no change to the results of measures in Camas and Ridgefield. With just 200 ballots left to count across the county, it appears certain that both Ridgefield schools measures will fail, while Camas’ emergency medical services levy will pass.

The Ridgefield School District’s losses mark the sixth consecutive time the district has failed to pass a bond since 2018. As of Wednesday, Proposition 10 had 58.87 percent voting to approve and Proposition 11 had 50.95 percent voting to approve. The measures require a 60 percent supermajority to pass.

District spokesperson Joe Vajgrt conceded the loss Wednesday but said the majority support shown for each measure indicates Ridgefield’s “ongoing recognition of the need for additional, permanent classroom space in the district.”

“The bond proposals were designed to address critical capacity issues, enhance safety features, and improve learning environments for our students. As our student enrollments continue to grow, so too will the need for adding permanent classroom capacity,” Vajgrt said. “We remain committed to our mission of providing the best educational opportunities possible for our students. The district will continue to engage with the community to understand their concerns and refine our proposals moving forward.”

Both measures would fund construction of new school buildings and renovations across the district. Proposition 11 can only pass if both it and Proposition 10 are approved.

If it passed, Proposition 10 would have collected an estimated $70 million over a maximum of 21 years to build a new 75,000-square-foot elementary school and complete an expansion and other renovations to Ridgefield High School.

If both measures passed, the district would have collected an estimated total of $190 million over a maximum of 21 years to build the aforementioned elementary school and addition to the high school, as well as a new 125,000-square-foot intermediate school for fifth through eighth grades.

Residents within district boundaries are paying an estimated $2.53 per $1,000 assessed property value toward schools in 2024 — among the lowest school tax rates in Clark County. If Proposition 10 passes, voters could expect to pay about $3.11 per $1,000 assessed property value in 2025. If both Proposition 10 and 11 pass, voters could expect to pay about $3.89 per $1,000 assessed property value in 2025.

The last time Ridgefield ran a similar construction bond was in 2022, when 59.15 percent voted to approve the measure. The district can still run its proposed bond measures at an election later this year in order for collections to begin Jan. 1, 2025.

Camas

Camas’ emergency medical services property tax levy will pass, with 76.85 percent voting to approve as of Wednesday. The levy is a renewal of a previous measure, not a new tax. It required a simple majority to pass.

The six-year levy will tax Camas residents at 46 cents per $1,000 assessed property value to support emergency response services in the city.

Voter turnout so far is at 39.07 percent, with 14,659 ballots counted among 37,571 registered voters as of Tuesday evening. Clark County Elections estimates there are 200 ballots left to count.

The next round of ballots will be released at 2 p.m. Monday.

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This story was made possible by Community Funded Journalism, a project from The Columbian and the Local Media Foundation. Top donors include the Ed and Dollie Lynch Fund, Patricia, David and Jacob Nierenberg, Connie and Lee Kearney, Steve and Jan Oliva, The Cowlitz Tribal Foundation and the Mason E. Nolan Charitable Fund. The Columbian controls all content. For more information, visit columbian.com/cfj.

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