According to preliminary votes and tabulations from Benton County elections officials, the replacement levy for Kiona-Benton Schools is passing by a razor thin margin.

Officials say only about 33% voter turnout, so far, school levies require 50% yes votes or higher to pass. For bonds (which usually fund capital projects and expenditures) it's 60%.   Officials did not give a percentage of yes vs. no votes.

What's being done in Kennewick with the new HS fields at KHS, KaHS, and Southridge were approved a few years ago via bond votes.

The Ki-Be Replacement levy would pay for a variety of programs, from sports, to arts, music; a wide variety of offerings.

The levy would increase taxes for two years by a rate of $1.50 per every $1,000 of a citizen's assessed property value. It would end after 2023.

Voters are being asked to pass this levy, the other one expired in 2020.  Officials did not say how many ballots went out, but they were only sent to citizens within the Ki-Be District.

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Election officials did say there's only a couple of hundred left to count, but it will come down to the wire whether this passes or not.

Is this just an off-year election slump, or is it a sign of things to come for school districts?  There has been a growing tidal wave of public frustration, even anger, over how educational programs were handled under COVID restrictions. It's soured many citizens attitudes towards some Districts.

Tri-City Districts are seeing record, or near-record numbers of students withdraw in favor of private schools, or homeschooling.

It will be interesting to see how upcoming other school levies and bonds in our area perform.


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