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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

More thoughts on School Bonds...

Ruminations on voting or not voting for school bonds are below. It is a big, neglected topic. I am just scratching the surface. - RMF

The activists that have been trying (dutifully) to pass a bond for the Ferndale School District are holding public meetings this month around Ferndale:
The problems Ferndale activists are having passing their school bond are now endemic to small cities and county areas in WA.  To see this, type "Bonds WA failing" into the Google search bar. Ferndale has failed to pass this bond (primarily designed to rebuild the High School) in 2014 and GE 2018.  They are trying again this month.   Reading through the committee documents the local activists, parents, advocates have produced is more than anguishing. Type "ferndale school district bond" into google or just read through this document here.  I spent the week looking at some of these problems . I think the problem set for these WA communities trying to pass school bonds in rural and small city areas has common components:

(1) Many times the  60% 'supermajority' provides an insurmountable obstacle to the passage of school bonds (not school levys) in WA State.Type "Bond WA 60% supermajority" into the Google search bar to see more on this.

(2) Anti-tax advocates have been dealt greater ammunition with (recent) accelerating property appraisals. This clearly leverages the anti-tax fears of older, retired populations, especially those on fixed incomes.

(3) There is clearly an urban Democrat vs. rural Republican split on this. The local Republican party almost never explicitly takes an anti school bond position. But many conservative and many older voters adopt anti-tax positions anyway.

(4) The supermajority bond approval rules mean that without some Republican support, school bonds will not pass in may rural school districts.

(5) For any community, the a school bond issue should be an easy pass, but school infrastructure and bond interest costs are so expensive that the residents of many smaller school districts are right to be wary of increases in property taxes.

More information, tables, charts and analysis below the break.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

School District Bond and Levy Elections


The Ferndale School District is outlined in white above . FSD has 24 full precincts and 4 partial precincts shown in shaded multi-color. FSD schools and other Whatcom County surrounding schools are labeled in white print. Click to enlarge the chart.
Post Under Construction. Please see http://www.whatcomcounty.us/1732/Current-Election for current information, registration deadlines, and voting periods:

"Deadline for in-person, mail-in & online registrations or address changes is January 14th"
"Ballots Mailed: January 23, 2019"
"This Special Election includes Ferndale School District 502, Nooksack Valley School District 506, and Concrete School District No. 11. "
More analysis after the break. You will need wide screen...

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Presidential Election Turnout Chart:1920:2016



An  historical Presidential Election Turnout chart. The data is  from Willem M. van der Wal Elections (R) package. Plot functions for lines: blue = lowess(), red = smooth(), purple = smooth.spline(). Click to enlarge the chart.