Tenino to give bond second visit in April

The Chronicle (Centralia)March 3, 2014 

Proponents of a bond to fund an overhaul for several aging Tenino schools will put the measure before voters again in April.

The $38 million bond proposal was defeated in a Feb. 11 special election when 56.8 percent of voters approved the measure that required a 60 percent supermajority.

The Tenino School District Board of Directors voted unanimously last week to rerun the bond issue April 22.

The same bond will be proposed to voters: Tenino school officials will ask voters, once again, to approve a 25-year, $38 million bond to expand and renovate the district’s elementary schools and Tenino Middle School, as well as provide essential upgrades such as technology, electrical and roofing systems, and new student drop-off and pickup areas. The proposal also includes a new gymnasium at Tenino High School.

School board President Trisha Claridge acknowledged it’s a quick turnaround to ask voters to weigh in a second time, but she’s confident the bond can pass.

“Right now it’s a great time to run it again, because people already know a good share of the information,” Claridge told The Chronicle last week. “But our delivery of getting the correct info to people wasn’t as strong as it could have been.”

So proponents will be approaching the public differently.

Claridge said many who live on the north side of the school district reside in either an Olympia or Rainier ZIP code. Mailed material from citizens asking the public to vote yes were sent out to just the Tenino ZIP code and might not have reached the northernmost residents.

“When you look at the precincts and how they voted, that hurt us,” Claridge said. “Now we’ve done a little checking and know what we have to do.”

Claridge also said some people have indicated that they were apprehensive about taking on an additional tax burden, especially in a district that hasn’t run a bond for many years. Some people also felt unclear on just how much money was going to various projects, Claridge said.

“We needed to better show the whole pie. The vast majority is going to the educational facilities,” Claridge said.

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