Despite a bond failure by only 46 votes, Woodburn School District officials are feeling optimistic about passing the bond in November.

The $65 million bond issue, which would alleviate overcrowding, fund major maintenance and upgrade security, showed 49.27 percent voting yes and 50.73 percent voting no.

Despite a press release from the Oregon School Boards Association issued Wednesday stating the results were too close to call, Superintendent Chuck Ransom accepted the defeat.

“We’re going to take this as a great first step in getting our message out and getting community support for how we want to position ourselves for the November election,” he said.

Marion County Clerk Bill Burgess also noted chances are slim of the tide turning in the bond’s favor.

“With 46 votes, the likelihood (of the outcome changing) is not great because we have a good sample of ballots,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean it won’t. It’s just the likelihood of having enough ballots to go one way is small.”

Burgess said there is only an automatic recount if the difference is one-fifth of one percent. Right now the difference is 1.5 percent. The school district, however, can ask for a recount but it would have to pay the expenses, Burgess said.

The results won’t be officially certified until June 9, at which time the district could choose to have a recount.

“There are still more ballots to count,” Burgess noted. “There are some ballots with outstanding signatures, and we give people 14 days to take care of that. So we won’t know an exact count until after that.”

But as Ransom noted, it’s unlikely the district will pursue a recount this time around.

“I’m really optimistic because I’ve heard the conversation change and the tone in the community shift,” he said. “Coming that close with (33 percent) turnout is pretty impressive.”

This is in light of numerous district bond failures over the years. The most recent, in 2009, saw a no vote of 68 percent. The last time a bond passed in Woodburn was in 1995, which built the Heritage Elementary and Valor Middle school complex.

In addition to the yes and no votes, there was one over vote and 78 under votes, meaning someone checked both “yes” and “no” and 78 people left both blank.

Ransom said he is confident the board would seek a second attempt at the bond in November, since the district’s needs are still there.

“We’re still sticking with the same message, we need adequate space, but the bond needs support from the community to set us up for the next 20 years,” Ransom said. “We’re going with a cost-neutral bond, we’re not just asking for everything that needs to be done, we’re trying to target without being excessive. Everything in this bond needs to be revisited. We’ll go back out, bring people in, do what we need done.”

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