Arlington School District’s proposed $96 million bond measure was rejected by voters with 52.51 percent voting in favor of the bond on Feb. 12.
Bond measures in Washington state require 60 percent approval to pass.
The funding would have been used to build a new Post Middle School, make safety and security improvements at all the schools and provide some other improvements to heating systems and traffic flow at some schools.
This is the third try for the district for their bond.
A similar $107.5 million bond was on last February’s ballot and received 55.89 percent approval and a second try in November received 52.03 percent approval.
District officials scaled back the bond by $11.5 million and tried again this February.
“We’re very thankful for the voters that came out, especially those that had to navigate the snow,” said Arlington School District Superintendent Chrys Sweeting.
"We're going to continue monitoring these results, but given what's come back so far it doesn't look to have passed,” she said.
This February’s election saw similar turnout to previous years despite the snowstorm.
“With roughly 36 percent of voters participating, turnout for the Arlington School District election on Tuesday [Feb. 12] was on par for a February Special Election,” said Garth Fell, elections manager with Snohomish County.
“It is clear that based on the total turnout and the margin in the election results, the outcome was not impacted by our recent weather event,” said Fell.
Sweeting said that the district will continue work on improving their schools.
"It would be nice to have a different result, but we're going to keep working together to get things done in our district,” she said.
School officials will receive direction from the district's board of directors about how to proceed now.
"The board will get together in the next couple of months to look forward at what our next steps are,” said Sweeting.
They may also advocate in the state legislature about the rule requiring 60 percent approval to pass a bond.
"We want talk to our legislators about the supermajority requirement to pass a bond,” said Sweeting.
The district also hopes to connect with the public about how they can best complete the priority projects that were on the bond.
"We're going to look for feedback about these results and about how we can fulfill our needs,” said Sweeting.
"The big need is replacing Post Middle School,” she said.
The middle school has been on the radar of school officials for a while. The building was not built with modern teaching in mind and with a design that lacks interior hallways students often travel through rain to get between classes.
"This is not something we've identified in just the past two or three years,” said Sweeting, who added the school was named in the 2014 Arlington School District Master Facilities Plan as needing a replacement.
“We have 22 heating pumps in the building,” said Sweeting, which raises maintenance and heating costs at the school.
Maintenance staff also has to manage the asbestos that the building was constructed with.
"Post is a challenge, because doing any renovations would cost 75 to 80 percent of what a new building would cost,” said Sweeting.
The building was built before ADA requirements. By law, before money is put into any renovation it would have to be made up to code for both the ADA and other code requirements.
Because of this school officials have been pushing for a complete replacement the last couple of years as they see it as a better investment.
"We will continue to be good stewards of the taxpayers' money,” said Sweeting.