LOS ANGELES - Seattle School District No. 1 officials plan to try another debt election in November, after voting totals indicated a close defeat for last week's $695 million general obligation bond measure.
Figures released Monday by King County election officials showed the Sept. 15 bond proposal with 59.01% voter support. It required 60% for passage.
Some absentee ballots still must be counted this week, but it appears unlikely they will provide enough support to help the measure pass.
Preliminary results last week showed the measure passing with 60.2% support, but school officials had predicted that absentee ballots might tip the election the other way.
Timothy McCourt, a capital budget analyst for the district, expressed confidence that the proposal can achieve passage in November because many school-related associations, such as parent groups, will have more time to campaign for the bonds. Many of these groups were not in full gear last week because it was so early in the school year, he added.
Last Wednesday, school officials approved a resolution to place a bond measure of the same size on the Nov. 3 general election ballot.
State law requires district officials to place a proposal on the ballot at least 45 days before an election, so school officials had to schedule the November election before hearing about the final Sept. 15 voting results, Mr. McCourt said.
Under state law, the district can bring bond measures before voters twice during a calendar year.
"We took a calculated gamble" that last week's primary election might attract the sort of voters likely of support the school bonds, Mr. McCourt said.
Statewide, roughly a third of the 45 bond measures on local ballots passed last week, and most of those were small authorizations, according to John Rose, a vice president of Seattle-Northwest Securities Corp., which will serve as a co-senior manager on the Seattle school bonds if voters approve them.
Mr. Rose observed that historically, the September and November ballots in even-numbered years pose challenges for bond measures because those elections' higher voter turnout generally "doesn't bode well" for debt authorizations. As a result, Seattle school officials voiced pleasure that they achieved such a high level of support.
The proposed bonds would allow financing of construction projects through the year 2000. The debt proposal grew out of a facilities master plan that the district's board of directors adopted in July. That plan spells out the district's requirements for modernizing, preserving, or replacing all of its school facilities for the next 18 years.