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Measure E barely retains 55 percent it needs to pass

By: Brody Fernandez, Lead Reporter for South Placer
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When Sierra College opened its doors in 1961, only 1,500 students took courses there. Now, more than 20,000 students attend the junior college every semester. 

No bonds had been adopted for Sierra College since its 1957 bond passed.

To afford needed repairs to the institution’s infrastructure, the college’s board of trustees placed Measure E on the Primary Election ballot, asking residents to support $350,000,000 in bonds to repair/replace/retrofit infrastructure. 

Many proponents of the measure said that this bond measure invests in educational economic stability as many students invest in themselves by enrolling there. Opponents of the measure said that this is yet another unneeded tax measure that Placer County residents will have to pay out of their pockets. 

Measure E currently has an edge up with 30,779 yes votes carrying 55 percent of the current vote in Placer County and 24,734 no votes at 44 percent of the vote. All 295 precincts in Placer County reported. 

Measure E needs a 55-percent vote to pass. As of 11 a.m. Wednesday, between certain parts of El Dorado and Sacramento counties where Measure E is on the ballot, the measure is holding on to a slim lead with a collective 55-percent vote reached among all counties, according to Sierra College public information officer Sue Michaels.

“When you put all the numbers together we have right now (11 a.m. Wednesday morning), it’s a very tight margin,” Michaels said. “I’m cautiously optimistic though.” 

Sierra College President William Duncan was also optimistic about the bond measure. 

“Once they (Placer County Elections) finish counting, we will be able to confirm it, but right now, we feel pretty good,” Duncan said. “It’s right there in sight. The measure is just too close to call it right now.” 

The Sierra College president also spoke to opponents of the measure.

“Look, I’m a taxpayer myself and I want to make sure the tax dollars I pay for go to things that are financially appropriate,” he said. “All of this is going to stay right here locally in Placer County. We have tried to do a lot here at Sierra College to prepare for this measure.” 

Duncan said that his administration prepared for this bond measure.

“We’ve been putting money aside into what we call our capital projects account. We have put aside nearly $20,000,000 and we wanted to go to the taxpayers and ask for the last dollar that this project needs,” Duncan said, “not the first dollar this needs with us asking for much more continually. Hopefully, things continue to look our way in terms of this bond measure passing and we’re just waiting on the official word from the county elections office.”