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Ferndale School District levy passes

Bellingham Public Schools, Birch Bay library bonds in limbo

Ferndale School District passed a two-year operations levy on the Feb. 8 ballot.
Ferndale School District passed a two-year operations levy on the Feb. 8 ballot. (Hailey Hoffman/Cascadia Daily News)
By Hailey Hoffman Visual Journalist

Preliminary results for the Feb. 8 special election are in, with voters issuing what might be a split decision on two important school funding tax measures.

The Ferndale School District passed its school programs and operations levy with a 59.29% approval.

The two-year levy replaces the expiring levy that funds a significant portion of the district’s staff and programming. It will bring in more than $20 million over the next two years from property taxes. It did not raise the property tax, but maintained the current rate.

A $122 million measure for Bellingham Public Schools bond, meanwhile, sits at 59.29% approval, and the Birch Bay Library bond at 56.74%. Both bonds require a 60% supermajority to pass and 40% voter turnout from the last general election.

With bond funding, the Bellingham schools hope to create a new space for Community Transitions, to build new elementary schools to replace dilapidated buildings and make room for growth, to finish existing projects and to increase safety, sustainability and accessibility across the district.

“We are optimistic, but no matter how the election results turn out, this bond represents an incredible amount of work by a lot of great people,” superintendent Greg Baker said in a statement.

Birch Bay requested $4.5 million to build its own permanent branch of the Whatcom County Library System.

Ferndale school officials expressed gratitude for approval of the replacement levy. 

“I want to take a moment to thank the Ferndale School Board for their work evaluating the needs
of our district,” interim Superintendent Mark Deebach said in a statement. “I also want to thank our families, staff, and community for your continued support of our schools and our students.”

Approximately 1,500 votes still need to be counted, and the next count will take place on Wednesday at 5 p.m. Only 32.32% are reported to have turned out as of Feb. 8 at 9 p.m.

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