Although it’s too early to declare the Spokane School District’s bond issue a winner, it is clear that it did considerably better than the City of Spokane’s bond issue.
It pulled more votes out of almost every city precinct that the two proposals shared. Sometimes lots more, as the above map of the first night’s vote totals shows.
This is interesting for several reasons.
First, the school bond issue is much bigger: $288 million compared to $18.5 million. The tax levy to pay it off is also much bigger and in a time of economic troubles, it’s interesting that people would choose the more expensive one, all things being equal.
Second, all things aren’t equal, and schools generally enjoy strong support in Spokane. But the city’s bond issue was largely for criminal justice facilities, and they, too, generall enjoy voter support.
Third, beyond the differences in who would do what with the money, there was a huge disparity in the amount spent on campaigns. Citizens for Spokane Schools had spent about$145,000 while Citizens for Public Safety had spent about $6,600. This definitely shows what a big campaign — even one that has problems with the accurately explaining its ballot measures — can do.