Push for school bond money

Push for school bond money »Play Video
TRI-CITIES, Wash. - Asking voters to raise taxes is always a challenge. Both Richland and Pasco think it's critical for the future of their students.

Pasco is pitching a 46-million dollar bond to build and remodel schools.

Richland is looking to do the same with about twice that investment.

A week before ballots are due about a quarter of the votes are back from people in both Benton and Franklin Counties.

Auditors expect a voter turnout between 42 and 47 percent. They still need more than half of those votes to pass the bond.

It could be a hard sell, especially if local government has more questions than answers. Franklin County Commissioners endorsed the bond but with some conditions.

They wanted more details on what solutions have been tried and how money has been spent by Pasco Schools.

Brad Peck, Franklin County Commissioners said, "It's still appropriate, fair, legitimate, however you want to say it to ask questions about our current operations, the notion that you can only be for the bond and not ask any questions or be opposed to the bond and not ask any questions is silly."

School Board President Sherry Lancon wasn't available in person but spoke to KEPR over the phone.

She tells us that everybody involved in the bond-writing process went above and beyond, seeking out all options, before presenting a package that would appeal to voters. She is fairly confident it will pass.

Over in Richland, its a bit of a different picture. School officials haven't asked for bond money in about a decade, and they're asking for a lot.
It's also coming at the same time the superintendent was fired for on the job affairs. Administrators aren't letting this be a distraction.

Rick Jansons, Richland School Board President said, " We have PTA parents combing the neighborhoods with door hangars of information, residents out with signs during traffic hours, all trying to rally support."

Support that's needed to alleviate growing pains in both districts.

Ballots must be postmarked or in a drop box by next Tuesday to count.