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Voters say 'YES'

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Outlook Elementary School teacher Kathleen Wolfe took her daughter Emily to the polls with her when she turned out to cast her vote for the Sunnyside School District bond and special levy election afternoon. "We're voting yes," she said.

Sunnyside voters gave their overwhelming support for two issues which will raise their property taxes, but in turn will bring in millions of dollars in state equalization funds to the Sunnyside School District in the next four years.

The Sunnyside School District was the only district in the region to offer two measures on the Tuesday ballot, both of which were detailed and at points confusing to understand. But in the end, through the efforts of the Sunnyside YES Committee and district officials, voters apparently understood the economic soundness of the district's proposal, said Steve Winfree, co-chair of the YES group. Tuesday's approval of the district's proposals will mean the construction of two new schools in the district, as well as enhancement and expansion of current programs.

Voters passed the district's request for an $11 million bond with a 63 percent "yes" vote. A four-year special levy proposition seeking $1.4 million annually from district patrons received a 65 percent approval rating. The passage of both issues will mean local taxpayers will now pay $1.61 per $1,000 assessed property value, up from the current $1.41 rate.

Winfree said he and co-chair Mike Miller are ..."extremely pleased with the results" of Tuesday's election. Winfree said the percentage of "yes" votes is exceptional.

"Voters really looked at the district's economic justification for the measures and voted in the best interest of the kids," Winfree said.

The passage of both measures, coupled with the equalization and matching funds from the state, will generate more than $45 million for Sunnyside.

The Sunnyside School District maintenance and operation levy received 1,252 "yes" votes and only 662 "no" votes. The $11 million bond measure received 1,190 "yes" votes and 687 "no" votes.

Mabton voters gave a more than adequate 80 percent approval vote for the Mabton School District's $195,000 school levy. The measure received 221 "yes" votes and only 53 "no" votes.

Mabton School officials said the voters' approval will enable the district to receive nearly $695,000 in state equalization funds each of the next four years.

"We had great support for the levy from our patrons," said Superintendent Kevin Chase, who added the money will be used to maintain and enhance the district's curriculum, transportation and basic services available to Mabton students.

However, a similar levy in the Granger School District has a less certain future. The $515,793 levy measure only received 274 "yes" votes, for 56 percent of the votes cast, well short of the necessary 60 percent super majority needed for passage.

. Julia Hart can be contacted at

(509) 837-4500, or you can e-mail her at jhart@eaglenewspapers.com

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