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School bond will likely return in November

School board has until Aug. 11 to place bond on Nov. 3 ballot.

After failing by a razor thin margin in the May 19 special election, a Bainbridge School District capital bond measure will likely return for a vote in November.

“That seems to be the consensus we’re working toward, although we haven’t passed a resolution,” school board President Mary Curtis said.

The school board has until Aug. 11 to formally place the bond on the Nov. 3 general election ballot. A vote to add the ballot measure would likely be held at its Aug. 6 meeting.

In May, the $42 million capital bond measure fell 0.2 percent short of the 60 percent voter approval it needed for passage. The bulk of the bond would have paid for the reconstruction of Wilkes Elementary School while roughly $10 million would have funded district-wide capital projects.

The school board has instructed district staff to reexamine the bond amount, especially construction costs for Wilkes. In the weeks leading up to the May election, some questioned the square-foot construction costs compared to other school projects in the state and asked for a breakdown of expenses.

Curtis said she feels the district’s projected costs were solid. But the campaign lacked ready access to the details needed to back them up, she said.

“I think we had all of our homework done, we had solid data and a solid plan,” she said. “I think maybe we didn’t communicate it as well to the community as we could have.”

This month, the district plans to have a second cost estimation company review the Wilkes estimate provided by The Robinson Company of Seattle. It will also assemble a panel of local professionals, including commercial architects, to review the cost estimates and ask questions of district staff and consultants.

Meanwhile, district staff will work with Mahlum Architects to compile a list comparing the cost of rebuilding Wilkes with other elementary projects in the area.

The school board will meet July 30 and may schedule a special July 23 meeting.

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