Walla Walla-area levies pass handily

The only measure that appears in doubt is a bond proposal that would remodel a Pomeroy school.

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All school local school maintenance and operation levies appear to have passed, along with the Columbia County Hospital District's levy request for funds to keep patient records electronically.

The only issue seemingly undecided is the Pomeroy School District's remodeling bond, which was barely passing.

The bid for a $4.5 million bond to remodel the high school and junior high school building was was ahead 556, 60.2 percent, to 368, 39.8 percent. Sixty percent is required to pass bond measures.

Superintendent Kim Spacek was cautiously optimistic when reached at the Courthouse Tuesday night. He said the vote is the result of teamwork, with a number of people working behind the scenes to help promote passage.

"If it doesn't pass, the need is real," and the board discussed what they will do in the event it doesn't pass, he said.

Ballots in Garfield County will be counted again Friday. There were 10 uncounted ballots Tuesday, and more may arrive in the mail before Friday.

College Place

College Place voters handily approved a levy that continues basic education programs at College Place Public Schools. Preliminary election results showed about 65.2 percent of voters supporting the levy, with 2,103 voting yes and 1,121 voting no. The levy needed a simple majority of 50 percent to pass.

The new four-year levy will fund programs in College Place Public Schools from 2011 through 2014, at a cost ranging from $2.38 million to $2.98 million each year. The current levy, approved in 2006, expires in December. The tax is not new, but a continuation of existing taxes that support programs already in place.

Dayton

Dayton School District passed two levies. One is a renewal two-year maintenance and operation levy for $1.1 million.

The vote was 921-509.

The second levy is a one-time $92,685 measure to resurface the athletic track and replace exterior doors at Dayton Elementary School. The levy passed 903-510.

Superintendent Doug Johnson was exuberant this morning. "I'm an extremely happy camper. Great news," he said.

Although only a simple majority is required to pass school levies, Johnson was pleased it passed by well over 60 percent.

"With the simple majority, and only needing 50 percent, we would be hard pressed not to pass it. But in my own mind I think if we can't get 60 percent we have some work to do."

Columbia County Public Hospital District's second bid for a one-year $795,000 levy to finance health information technology passed handily this time, 1,409 to 620 in Columbia County and within the boundaries of the Waitsburg School District in Walla Walla County.

The levy will provide for a complete record of patients' health history and visits.

Implementation of the new record-keeping system will make the District eligible for federal stimulus money, and will enhance processing Medicare reimbursements.

The measure failed when presented to voters in the November general election.

Prescott

Prescott School District's $585,000 2-year replacement maintenance and operation levy passed 137-89.

Waitsburg

Waitsburg School District netted a 66 percent approval rating on its 2-year maintenance and operation levy. The levy is for $410,000 to be collected in 2011 and $422,000 in 2012. The vote was 310-157.

Touchet

Voters in the Touchet School District also approved the request for a renewal maintenance and operation levy. The 3-year levy will collect $676,546 in 2011, and $684,355 in 2012 and 2013.

The vote was 173-104.

Carrie Chicken can be reached at cec@innw.net or 522-5289. Maria P. Gonzalez can be reached at mariagonzalez@wwub.com or 526-8317. Check out her blog at blogs.ublabs.org/schoolhousemissives.

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