After nearly two weeks of counting eligible vote-by-mail ballots, Pleasanton Unified School District's Measure I came from behind and was able to receive more than the 55% of votes needed to pass.
As it stands the $395 million general obligation bond that will go toward funding for school facility upgrades has 57.18% Yes (15,653 votes) and 42.82% No (11,750 votes), according to Monday's election results report from the Alameda County Registrar of Voters' Office -- the final major tally update expected from the county.
"When we received the numbers posted on Friday evening, Todd (Utikal) and I were downright ecstatic," Bill Butler, a pro advocate for the bond and co-chair of the Yes on I campaign group alongside Utikal, told the Weekly.
"We are both extremely grateful and humbled by these results. We want to express our heartfelt thanks to the voters, our volunteers and the team we were able to assemble to advocate on behalf of the 'Yes on I' campaign. It was an honor of a lifetime to be aligned in supporting our teachers and students here in Pleasanton."
The bond started Election Night with 52.79% of residents voting Yes and 47.21% No but has steadily increased in Yes votes over the ensuing updates from the county as more eligible ballots were tabulated.
Yes on Measure I officially broke the 55% threshold by getting a 1.12% lead last Wednesday before going past the 57% mark on Friday -- an advantage that appears insurmountable based on the low number of ballots left countywide.
"Unless there are a number of no ballots still waiting to be counted, I think the measure has passed," Kathleen Ruegsegger, a former trustee and strong advocate against the bond, told the Weekly. "Congratulations to those voting Yes. We will now be watching carefully how this tremendous amount of money is spent."
Measure I would be the second bond Pleasanton voters have approved since 2016, when the $270 million Measure I1 passed that November.
PUSD had previously attempted to pass another bond in 2020, but the $323 million Measure M bond fell short with a final tally of 52.40% Yes votes and 47.60% No. Unlike Measure I, Measure M actually trailed at the beginning of the election with 51.41% No and 48.59% Yes on Election Night in March 2020.
Measure I will help fund the first tier phase of the district's Facilities Master Plan, which was approved by the school board in June. It would utilize a tax rate of $49 per $100,000 of assessed value for Pleasanton property owners to fund that first tier round of projects which includes gym and theater constructions at both Amador Valley and Foothill high schools as well as new classrooms at Vintage Hills Elementary.
The second tier of the master plan will focus on deferred maintenance, restructuring of the visual performing arts in high schools, cafeteria and air conditioning and heating equipment.
"We are excited about the slate of projects set to be built or renovated with the proceeds from this bond measure and look forward to seeing how they will positively impact our students, teachers and the rest of our community for many years to come," Butler said.
While the county hasn't certified the election, the vast majority of the ballots have been counted, according to Dwayna Gullatt, an administrative assistant at the registrar's office.
Gullatt told the Weekly that 32,000 out of the nearly 500,000 ballots in the county were cast in person and were counted on Election Night. The rest were mail-in ballots that were meticulously processed over the last couple of weeks.
She said Friday's update from the county included the "bulk of the remaining votes" and that there were about 2,000 votes countywide included in Monday's update. There are also another 2,500 that need signatures cured across Alameda County; it is unclear how many of those come from residents within PUSD's boundaries.
The next results update won't be until closer to Dec. 8, which is when the county must officially certify the election.
According to the county's election data, the total tally of voter turnout countywide as of now is 53.23%, including vote-by-mail ballots received before Election Day and votes cast in-person. The total number of ballots cast is reported to be 495,599.