By CLAIRE ST. JOHN
Columbia Elementary School trustees were still waiting this morning to find out if their $3.6 million bond measure would squeak by.
Polls closed last night on a dubious note for Measure G, which, if approved, would allow the school to begin work on campus improvements.
The bond needs a 66.66 percent approval, and as of midmorning today with 87 votes left to be counted or verified the vote stood at 65.49 percent approval.
As of late this morning, Tuolumne County election staff members were counting the final absentee ballots and expected to have results by early this afternoon, said Jackie St. George, assistant county clerk in elections.
Last night, bond supporters gathered at Trustee Clark Segerstrom's house to await the vote results. About 8:45 p.m., they learned when most of the absentee ballots had been counted the vote was 66.53 percent in favor of the bond.
"We're that close," Superintendent John Pendley said last night.
Pendley said 73 of those 87 votes to be counted need to be 'yes' for the bond to pass.
Of the 1,333 voters who turned out at the polls yesterday, 873 voted in favor, 460 voted against.
Bond money is slated to fund the first phase of the school's master plan, including a multi-use gymnasium with an indoor stage, amphitheater, full-sized basketball court, bleachers and a concession area. The public will be encouraged to use those facilities, said Superintendent John Pendley.
If the bond measure passes, the district plans to improve the safety of the school's Parrotts Ferry Road entrance and exit; expand on-campus parking; and construct an additional exit for buses.
Two permanent classrooms and two restrooms will also be added to the the campus, with construction of more permanent classrooms to follow.
If the bond doesn't pass, trustees plan to put a bond measure on November's ballot, Pendley said, because the only way to build a multi-purpose building is with bond money.