One school bond hangs on 19 votes; another passes by wide margin

PLEASANT HILL, Ore. - If you don't think every vote counts, go talk to Tony Scurto.

The Pleasant Hill school superintendent can only wait to see if a 19-vote margin is going to hold up.

That's the difference between the Yes and No vote in the current unofficial tally from the Tuesday, May 20, vote on a $18 million school bond in the small town southeast of Eugene.

The reader board on Highway 58 Wednesday thanked the voters, but for the Pleasant Hill School District, the nervous wait is not over.

"I'd say we are cautiously optimistic," said Scurto, superintendent of the 900 student district.

Those officials watched the Tuesday night election returns go both ways.

At first, the bond was winning by 8.

Then it was 4 after more votes were counted.

Then it was down by 4 before the last count after midnight put the bond up by 19.

"It was pretty tense," Scurto said. "There was a lot of anxiety. There were a lot of folks who worked very hard on the bond campaign that were viewing the results."

If approved, the bond will pay to replace 2 wings at Pleasant Hill High School and pay for some add-on space at the elementary campus.

Meanwhile, 45 minutes to the west at the Fern Ridge School District, it's a totally different story.

Voters gave a resounding yes to a $26 million bond issue. The bond received support from 61 percent of voters. Funds will pay to replace the 65-year-old Elmira Elementary School, add classrooms at Veneta Elementary and upgrade technology at all the campuses.

Superintendent Dennis Friedrich gives full credit to the voters of the district.

"If you say it like it is, if it's clear, if you have safeguards in there, like I say, they're intelligent," she said. "They'll buy it."

The superintendent said this bond win is especially sweet. Voters in the district rejected the last 2 bond issues.

Scurto said he's told by the county elections office that unofficial ballot results should be available by late Friday.

If the 19 vote margin holds up in Pleasant Hill, it will be enough to avoid a recount.