It’s been a white-knuckle week for the supporters of Measure B, the high school parcel tax measure in west county. At stake is $1.2 million in funding for Analy, El Molino and Laguna high schools. Until yesterday, Wednesday, March 11, Measure B was still one percentage point short of passing, and there are still thousands of votes left to count.
According to Wendy Hudson, the chief deputy registrar at the Sonoma County Registrar of Voters office, there were still 67,950 votes countywide left to count, as of Monday, March 9.
When asked when the count might be done, she demurred.
“We would like it to be done earlier, but there’s still a lot of work to so we can’t make any promises,” she said. “We have to have it done by March 31.”
Jim Walton, organizer of the Measure B campaign, said he’s still feeling hopeful. He thinks there’s still enough votes outstanding to push Measure B into winning territory. After press time, Walton said he'd heard from the registrar of voters office that Measure B has crossed the crucial two-thirds majority mark, which, if it stays above that point as vote-counting continues, will mean it will pass.
"We're not home free yet, but we just crossed the two-thirds mark," he wrote in an email to supporters. "The registrar just posted: 66.81% yes, with 17,855 votes counted and 11,929 yes votes. I think there will be more votes to come, but these should move us further into the "passed" zone.
By Friday, March 13, the measure's margin of victory had widened, with 68.49% voting yes, and 15,000 ballots countywide yet to be counted, according to Walton.
At the West Sonoma County Union High School District board meeting last week, members of the public got a sense of what was at stake in a report from the Superintendent’s Budget Committee, presented by Superintendent Toni Beal.
The reports details $2 million potential cuts, listed from preferred to last resort. Parents who’d come to the meeting to protest a proposal to move Laguna to El Molino were relieved to discover that that plan was low on the list.
In the meantime, bound by law to inform teachers by March 15 if their positions might be cut next year, the district sent out pink slips to more than a 16 teachers, but Human Resources Manager Mia Del Prete called them "preliminary."
"A lot will change between now and May 15," she cautioned.