Margin razor thin as Measure I continues gains after Election Night | November 18, 2022 | Pleasanton Weekly | PleasantonWeekly.com |

Pleasanton Weekly

News - November 18, 2022

Margin razor thin as Measure I continues gains after Election Night

PUSD's proposed $395M facilities bond within 0.061% as of Tuesday update

by Christian Trujano

Measure I, Pleasanton Unified School District's $395 million general obligation bond, has trailed since Election Night but climbed to within a whisker of the lead as ballots continued to be tabulated earlier this week.

In order for a bond measure to pass, a school bond needs better than 55% of the vote to pass; currently Measure I has 54.94% of residents voting Yes and 45.06% voting No -- just 0.061% from passing -- as of this Tuesday afternoon, the latest update before the Weekly's press deadline. The bond would help fund the first tier phase of the district's Facilities Master Plan, with key projects on the list including the gyms and theaters at both comprehensive high schools.

"The 'Yes on I' campaign is closely monitoring the numbers being posted on a daily basis and continues to hope for the best," Bill Butler, a pro advocate for the bond and co-chair of the Yes on I campaign group, told the Weekly after seeing Tuesday's update. "We know there are likely 10,000-plus ballots yet to be counted and at the current pace, a result either way may not be known until some time next week at the earliest."

Butler's co-chair for the Yes on I campaign committee, Todd Utikal, told the Weekly that he heard about 15,000 ballots have been counted in Pleasanton so the race is very much still up in the air, even if they are gaining momentum since Election Night.

"In one week we've come up with, what, 2-1/2 percent?" Utikal said. "So I am nervously optimistic and hopeful that these counts that are still on their way, are going to go our way."

Measure I started off Election Night with 52.79% of residents voting Yes and 47.21% -- mirroring the last election in 2020 when voters saw a similar Measure M bond. The $323 million Measure M bond received a final tally of 52.40% Yes votes and 47.60% No.

As a matter of fact, Measure M actually trailed with 51.41% No and 48.59% Yes on Election Night in March 2020.

But Measure I saw a different story as the first round of updates on Nov. 10 showed the bond picking up more votes toward approval but still remained roughly 1.75% short of passing.

Then on Monday, it went from 53.22% of residents voting Yes to 54.63% -- the number of residents voting No went down to 45.37%.

Now that the measure has gained more momentum, Kathleen Ruegsegger, a former trustee and strong advocate against the bond, told the Weekly that all she and the rest of the Vote No on I supporters can do is sit and wait.

"The numbers and percent are leaning toward the bond passing, but until we have the final count, we remain hopeful -- with fingers crossed," Ruegsegger said.

The Measure I bond 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.

Elsewhere in the Tri-Valley, Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District's bond measure appears headed for a significant defeat though the ballot-tallying continues.

The $450 million Measure G, which also required above 55% approval to pass, has not even received majority support to date -- sitting at 51.27% No (11,313 votes) and 48.73% Yes (10,753 votes) as of Tuesday's results update.

And south in Sunol, the $10.9 million Measure J school bond is still trailing, but the vote totals have not changed at all since Election Night even though thousands of ballots have been tabulated countywide.

Given the small size of Sunol Glen Unified School District, just a few more ballots could make all the difference: The margin is currently 78 votes Yes (51.66%) to 73 votes No (48.34%).

Editor's notes: Pleasanton Weekly editorial director Jeremy Walsh contributed to this story. Follow updates on the election results this weekend online at PleasantonWeekly.com.

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