Ellensburg going for 5th attempt at new middle school

ELLENSBURG, Wash. -- Supporters of the $39 million bond measure want another crack on the ballot. They plan to learn more about what went wrong this time compared to all the other times.

"I think all of us are disappointed," Ellensburg High School junior Cole Tipton said about the measure failing.

He wanted the bond measure to pass because sharing the campus with the middle school feels crammed. This was painfully close for supporters like James Pappas.

"I think people need to take their priority of 'I don't want any more taxes' and put focus on the children of this community," Pappas said.

Pappas chairs the committee pushing for a new middle school and says the fight isn't over. The committee wants the school board to put the bond on the ballot again in November.

If the board approves a fifth attempt, the plans for the middle school will remain the same from this attempt and if passed, the school will be built on the softball field near the high school.

Before November, supporters plan to find out what's keeping voters from supporting the bond. They say it can't only be about the money. This latest proposal was ten-million dollars less than the three bond measures before it.

"We were about at least 5% shy in the previous 3 bonds," Superintendent Paul Farris said. "We're 9 votes shy on this bond."

This was the closest the bond came to the 60% supermajority since the first attempt in 2006. Students like Cole hope there will eventually be enough support, even if it's after he graduates.

"I'm sure they're even more crammed than we are I'm sure because they just get the small section of the old high school," Tipton said.

For now, Ellensburg High School will still be home to students in five different grades. The school board will discuss the possibility of another bond measure in November tonight. A final decision won't be made until later.