Ridgefield school bond fails to reach supermajority vote


A $62.6 million bond measure to build a new elementary school in the Ridgefield School District doesn’t have the supermajority of votes needed to pass after the majority of votes have been counted.

As of the latest count released on April 28, the measure had about 59.1% approval, with 5,110 votes cast in favor of the bond, and 3,535 ballots, or about 40.9% cast in opposition. The measure needs more than 60% for the supermajority approval required for capital bonds.

The bond would have funded the construction of a 75,000-square-foot elementary school that would house kindergarten through fourth grades and an 18,000-square-foot expansion at Ridgefield High School. The district previously stated a bond would need to be approved in April in order to have the new buildings ready for the 2023-2024 school year. 

Following the passage of a $78 million bond in 2017 that constructed the district’s intermediate grades campus, the district has tried four times unsuccessfully to pass another measure. Voters in support of the measures made up between 50.5% to 59.2% of ballots cast in the prior elections. Most recently, the current form of the bond received about 57.5% approval in February.

Clark County elections said about 39,500 ballots had been counted during the special election, which included the Ridgefield School District’s bond measure and a replacement levy for the Evergreen School District. On May 2, the elections office estimated there were 250 ballots left to count and the office held another count on the following day.  

Ridgefield School District board president Joe Vance said it was disappointing to once again have a bond failure.

“It’s frustrating and disappointing, but at least it’s a relief that it was a couple of percentage points,” Vance said.

Ridgefield School District Superintendent Nathan McCann was optimistic, though he realized the vote was largely against the resolution he wanted.

“It’s a really steep threshold, 60%” McCann said. “I’m glad that they were able to see the validation of their work.”

McCann noted running the bond again next year would be burdensome. Vance said in a regular election the vote would have passed in “a landslide.” 

“It doesn’t require 60% approval of the community to build the homes,” Vance said.

The Ridgefield School District is looking at staggering its school days and changing the boundaries for its elementary schools following the bond failure.

The head of the district is fully aware of how much these changes will impact students in the district.

“It’s not our desire to do these things,” McCann said.