The mood was ebullient Tuesday night at the Measure A election party when the election returns rolled in showing that the bond measure extension was heading to a victory by a big margin.
By 11:40 p.m., with 48 of 65 precincts in the Palo Alto Unified School District reporting, Measure A had more than 77 percent yes votes, with 55 percent needed to pass.
Measure A extends a 1995 bond measure without raising the current property tax rate. All told, the measure will generate $378 million through around the year 2042. The money will be used, in part, for new school facilities.
This Measure A campaign was scripted on the parcel tax vote, also called Measure A, passed by district voters in June 2005. That measure won 74 percent of the vote, needing 67 percent to pass.
It seemed a little surprising that the current Measure A was even outpacing the former Measure A.
"The campaign was very similar to what we did in 2005," Jon Foster, one of the four campaign chairs, said.
The formula for the campaign, Foster said, was to tell the voters why the measure was needed. Campaign mailers did that. Then the campaign identified likely "yes" voters.
The final push started last weekend when volunteers placed "door-hangers" on homes throughout the district reminding residents to vote.
That was followed by 10,000 calls made to voters on Monday and Tuesday, again reminding people to vote.
The campaign had 100 volunteers who made 100 calls each. The volunteers, with their cell phones, gathered at four homes to make the calls.
"I'm absolutely thrilled," school board President Dana Tom said about the results. "It's a wonderful statement of trust that we will do the best for the students in the district."
"The value of a campaign like this goes beyond new school buildings," Samir Tuma, another campaign co-chair, said. "It's bringing the community together. We have made a statement tonight that we care about our community and our schools."
The Measure A campaign raised about $96,000 in campaign donations, not quite reaching the goal of $120,000 modeled on the previous Measure A campaign in 2005, according to campaign funding chair Melinda Christopherson.
One difference between the two campaigns is that the current Measure A decided to not accept money from architects, construction firms or construction consultants, Christopherson said. Those are firms that are stakeholders in the new construction the bond measure extension will fund.
The campaign returned one $5,000 check as a result and declined to accept a second for the same amount, Foster said.
Architects and construction firms are often the biggest donors to school bond-measure campaigns, so it's almost unheard-of in California not to accept their donations, he said.