KI Be levy barely passes (Ki Be School District)
KI Be levy barely passes (Ki Be School District)

School officials in the Kiona-Benton School District let out a sigh of relief Wednesday, as the last of the ballots were counted from their special replacement levy vote.

Superintendent Pete Peterson said this about the razor-thin margin:

"While we are grateful that the levy has passed, we acknowledge that many people in the community were not in favor of it..."

Officials did not dislose how many ballots were sent out, but only those inside the school district voted.

The final margin showed the levy passing with a 51.56% yes vote.  50% is required for school levies, bonds (capital improvements such as new schools etc) require 60% approval.

The official certification of the election will take place in Benton County by the Elections Department in the Auditor's office on May 7th.

Ki Be levy passes (Ki Be school district)
Ki Be levy passes (Ki Be school district)

The District also released this information about what the levy will take care of:

"This local funding directly benefits our students and will help pay for programs and services such as athletics, music, technology support, special education class size, nurses, counselors, safety staff, advanced courses, and extracurricular activities. More information on the levy can be found at"

While off-year elections (non-Presidential) are often marked by low voter turnout, the last report we had was only 33% of eligible voters returned their ballots. It could possibly be citizen-parental response in light of how COVID-19 issues were handled when it comes to education.

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Based upon the comments from the Superintendent, this might be part of the case.  There have been a lot of comments we have seen on media stories (including ours) reporting on this and other levy and school projects which indicate many citizens support for Districts has been eroded.

The Tri City area has seen (Richland, Pasco, Kennewick) record numbers of transfers to private schools and home school applications from parents; mostly due to COVID related issues with education.

We will be closely monitoring other Districts who may ask for levies in the near future.


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