CANYON CITY - Grant County school leaders breathed a sigh of relief after voters statewide, as well as the local electorate, approved primary school funding on Sept. 17.
Oregon Ballot Measure 19 passed statewide. In Grant County, 1,140 voters, or 51.5 percent of the voting electorate, passed Measure 19, with 1,073 or 48.5 percent opposed. Grant County reported 50 percent voter participation.
Ballot Measure 19 shifts $150 million from a lottery-supported education endowment fund to provide stopgap public school money in the wake of revenue shortfalls. In Grant School District No. 3, passage of Measure 19 protected $247,000.
"The voters came through," said school district superintendent Newell Cleaver. "That's the good news."
The bad news is the school district still faces a $243,000 shortfall, but $159,000 depends on another voter measure, a January tax increase referral.
"None of this is about new money," Cleaver said. "All of this is about money promised but not delivered."
A second measure on the Sept. 17 ballot resulted in a split vote. Statewide, voters approved Measure 20, but in Grant County, only 1,045 or 47 percent of the voting electorate supported the measure. Measure 20 raises the cigarette tax to $1.28 per pack on Nov. 1, an increase of 60 cents to offset cuts to the Oregon Health Plan.
Only 12 counties equaled or surpassed Grant County's 50 percent turnout. Highest was 92 percent turnout in Lake County. Statewide, turnout was 44 percent.