Supporters of a state measure mandating smaller class sizes have declared victory in light of recent ballot counts, while opponents would need more than half of uncounted ballots on their side to pull ahead.
Initiative 1351 was passing with a majority of 50.74 percent of voter support, or a margin of 29,390 votes, as of the latest results reported by the Washington Secretary of State's Office this evening, while an estimated 58,969 ballots remain to be counted state-wide, primarily in King, Thurston, Snohomish, Spokane and Okanogan counties.
I-1351 has been a close call since voting concluded Nov. 4 for the 2014 General Election, with early results indicating the measure was failing but more recent numbers showing a growing margin in favor of supporters.
If passed, the measure would mandate smaller class sizes in public school throughout the state, with districts in impoverished areas to be impacted first by the measure. Local school officials, however, have raised concerns over the measure's lack of funding for changes required to comply with its terms, including greater staffing and, in many cases, additional classroom facilities would be beyond their current economic needs.
But supporters of the measure, led by Super PAC Class Size Counts, say smaller class sizes will bring Washington more in line with standards seen in other districts across the country and will allow students greater opportunities to succeed through teachers with fewer pupils to focus on.
Despite the number of ballots let to be counted, Class Size Count has declared victory on their website http://www.yeson1351.com/ in light of the most recent ballot counts, stating, "Washington voters are sending a strong message to the Legislature about investing in our kids and making public education a priority."