UPDATE: $6.8 million Hoquiam school bond passing easily

The Hoquiam School District’s bid for a $6.8 million bond for repairs to Hoquiam High School and Lincoln Elementary School continues to cruise toward passage after more votes were tallied after election day.

The latest count Thursdasy had the bond passing with 68.95 percent of the vote — 2,514 yes to 1,132 no. The measure needs a 60 percent majority to pass. Grays Harbor County does not have another vote count scheduled until the Nov. 27 election certification date.

“It takes a village to raise a child, and the Hoquiam community takes this seriously,” said Hoquiam superintendent Mike Villarreal. “I’m so grateful to the KidsFirst Committee, service organizations, businesses, churches, district employees, and the community for their support in recognizing the current needs of our aging buildings.”

Villarreal said this is a 6-year bond, which will be used to replace the 50-year-old cedar shake roof on the high school, which has been severely weathered over the years. Funds will also be used at Lincoln Elementary for a number of upgrades, including roof work, asbestos removal, ADA compliant entrances and fire mitigation steps.

“The district is looking forward to get the ball rolling and start fixing up the high school and Lincoln Elementary,” said Villarreal. “As more information becomes available concerning timelines, we will post it on the district website.”

According to bond supporters, property tax rates in the district will drop from $5.81 to $3.66 per $1,000 of assessed value in 2019. As Villarreal explained, the decline is due in part because the 83 cents tax per $1,000 collected for the middle school bond is expiring, and due to changes made by the Legislature in wake of the McCleary school funding decision there is also a reduction in the district’s Educational Programs and Operations Levy, from $5 to $1.49 per $1,000 of assessed value. The proposed bond would have a tax rate of $1.35 in 2019, raising to $2.18 the remaining five years; the total combined tax rates from 2019-2024 would remain at $3.67.

“Leadership matters. I’m deeply appreciative of Paul McMillan who has served as the Chairman for Levies and Bonds since 1973,” said Villarreal. “Without Paul’s expertise and knowledge of the community, who knows if we’d have an unblemished record of passing levies and bonds. Paul epitomizes the Grizzly spirit of dedication.”