PUSD Superintendent David Haglund said he was "optimistic" after the polls closed but that had dimmed by Wednesday morning as more results were released by county election officials.
"While we are surprised and disappointed with the early returns, we are still waiting to see the final numbers," Haglund told the Weekly.
"We expected at least a 50% voter turnout which if correct, indicates there may be another 13,000 uncounted votes out there. Based on conversations with the Alameda County Registrar, they indicated to us that there is a 'very significant number of ballots left to be counted.' We will continue to monitor the results," he added.
As for how the district will adjust plans to increase student capacity without more bond money, Haglund said they will figure out how to make do.
"There are no easy solutions to some of these long-standing and significant infrastructure needs and our ability to move critically needed projects forward. If the bonding capacity is not expanded, we will do our best to repair what we can with the resources we have," he added.
Former PUSD trustee Kathleen Ruegsegger, who was a vocal opponent of Measure M since its introduction, said on Wednesday, "Until all school districts learn to use deliverable projects with no clauses that absolve them of producing them, I don't think voters will be willing to pay.
"They need to protect homeowners. Especially when it would have been $1.2 billion to them," she said.
Earlier on Election Night, Haglund and Bryan Gillette, co-chair of the Yes on M campaign, each told the Weekly that they were hopeful the initiative will pull through, citing the recent South Carolina caucus as a possible reason for some voters delaying to cast their ballots.
"It's early plus a lot of Democratic votes are being held," Gillette said. "There's been a much lower turnout in Alameda County over the last couple of days compared to other elections, so we're expecting more Democratic votes to come in, just because they are the later ones to vote."
Declining to entertain the prospect of a loss, Pleasanton Partnerships in Education Foundation Executive Director Steve McCoy-Thompson said a Yes vote on Measure M was "critical for the future of our schools," but that he was "still hopeful" about the community approving it.
"We were able to talk to a lot of Pleasanton residents; my first impression is that I was impressed by how engaged our citizens are on this issue," McCoy-Thompson said. "I'm also impressed by how much all our community supports our schools, and that's regardless of how they feel about this bond measure."
The unofficial election results include early vote-by-mail tallies and totals reported by the precincts on Election Night. The election figures will likely change in the coming days as final vote-by-mail ballots, provisional ballots and other qualifying ballots are processed, according to the California Secretary of State.
In other results
* Over in Livermore, Mayor John Marchand called the early results on Measure P "reaffirming" and "incredible" in light of a public battle over the past year to maintain the city's course for development of its downtown core.
After Election Night, the measure to codify a previously approved deal for building a three-story hotel on the east side of Livermore Avenue next to the Bankhead Theater had pulled ahead with 64.57% of votes, compared to 35.43% -- passage required a simple majority.
A separate "Central Park Plan" initiative is slated to be on the November ballot but Marchand said he was unfazed.
"This election shows that the voters recognize that the city listened to the voters and have affirmed the council's decision," he said. "The Livermore voters are very smart and they understand the difference between a plan and a drawing, and this community sadly has been divided. It's time for us to unite, to come together, and to get this very important work done. We listened to the community during outreach and this is the plan the community wanted."
* Measure J in Dublin was trailing too on Election Night, with 53.79% voting Yes and 46.21% voting No -- 55% majority required for passage of the school bond.
The bond measure asked Dublin Unified School District voters whether to approve its fourth school bond in 16 years, a $290 million bond measure (and accompanying property tax of $50 per $100,000 of assessed valuation) to fund the community's second comprehensive high school, a new middle school and current campus renovations, as well as overcrowding amid notable growth.
* The vote in Sunol is too close to call on the Measure O school bond (also 55% threshold), with 54.84% Yes votes and 45.16% No votes as of Election Night.
The $9.5 million bond would fund numerous improvements classrooms, technology and infrastructure for Sunol Glen Unified School District, in addition to a new multipurpose room, at the nearly century-old school on Main Street that serves pupils in the K-8 district. Measure O would be the district's first new bond issuance in more than 20 years, levying a property tax of $59 per $100,000 of assessed valuation.
* In other unincorporated parts of the county, 64.06% of voters supported Measure D and 35.94% opposed, but the passage level is two-thirds for the proposed $90 million fire safety bond measure floated by the Alameda County Fire Department to fund fire facilities projects in those communities. The new measure would instigate a property tax of $16 of $100,000 of assessed valuation.
* Measure C, the proposed countywide half-cent sales tax for the next 20 years, garnered 61.15% of voters support, with 38.85% opposed. The sales tax aims to raise $150 million annually, with 80% of the funds earmarked for childcare, preschool and early education programs and the remainder for pediatric health care.
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