By KERRY BENEFIELD
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Voters passed four school district bond measures in Sonoma County, but Tuesday’s vote was too close to call for two more school districts hoping for bond and tax measure money.
Bonds totalling $64 million were approved in Sebastopol, Healdsburg, Wright and Guerneville.
But Petaluma’s Old Adobe District was getting 56.1 percent of the vote on its $26 million bond measure with an unknown number of last-minute and provisional ballots still uncounted. General obligation bonds need 55 percent approval to pass.
Cotati-Rohnert Park’s parcel tax was winning by the slimmest of margins, netting 66.9 percent of the vote. The tax needs 66.67 percent to pass.
“It’s probably about three weeks” before the school district contests become final, said Janice Atkinson, county elections chief.
Cotati-Rohnert Park has been in tight elections before. In 2005, a parcel tax was denied by 26 votes.
“It’s the waiting game,” said Cotati-Rohnert Park School Board President Ed Gilardi. “I honestly expect it to get stronger. I’m thinking positively.”
“We are confident, but cautious,” said Superintendent Rob Haley. “We understand that these are not official votes. We believe we are in a good position for final passage.”
Elsewhere in Sonoma County, Sebastopol had strong support, pulling in 69 percent of the vote for its $9 million bond measure, while Wright District won with 61 percent for its $14 million bond.
In Healdsburg, 60 percent of voters approved the county’s largest bond at $35 million.
Guerneville’s $6 million bond pulled in 63 percent yes votes.
The wish lists outlined in all five bond measures are nearly identical and include the installation of solar panels, replacing and repairing roofs, improving heating and ventilation and upgrading technology.
Cotati-Rohnert Park, Sonoma County’s third largest district, was asking for operational funds via a parcel tax rather than money to build capital projects through bond revenues.
The district has seen its revenue fall from $53.7 million in 2007-08 to an estimated $44.3 million in 2012-13 — excluding potential cuts of up to $2.6 million if Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax ballot measure fails in November, district officials said.
Measure D would bring in about $5.3 million over five years through an $89 per-parcel tax.