CULVER, Ore. -

Nearly two weeks after most of the ballots were counted, the outcome was finally known Friday evening: Culver’s fourth try in seven years at a school bond measure was approved – by just five ballots out of nearly 1,200 cast.

The vote on the $8.8 million measure to renovate and upgrade schools was so close, it took until the 5 p.m. Friday deadline for the final decision – 590 yes votes to 585 no.

The people who cast two final outstanding “challenged” ballots had until the Friday deadline to come in, and since they didn’t, Jefferson County Clerk Kathy Marston said they won’t be opened and won’t count.

Marston said she’ll certify the election results on Monday.

If the margin had been three ballots or fewer, an automatic recount would have been required.

Although the recount possibility didn’t end until Friday, the slightly wider winning margin than the three-ballot difference on Election Night left school officials confident enough to put up a ‘Thank You Voters” sign outside Culver Elementary School

Each ballot request was smaller than the prior one, dating back to a $20 million, 20-year bond proposed in 2006 that would have paid for a new elementary school as well. That was rejected by nearly two-thirds of the voters who cast ballots – and a November 2011 $14.5 million bond had an even higher 67-percent no vote.

Last May’s third try at $9.8 million was closer, but was defeated 53-47 percent.