A child gives her mother a hand at the ballot box Tuesday at Huron Arena. Next, a line of voters waits to cast ballots.
HURON — The voters of Huron set a clear message Tuesday when they went to the ballot box as they voted to support a $22 million bond be taken out for the expansion of elementary schools in the district.
The finally tally was 2,435 votes for the bond and 977 votes against.
It was better than the 60 percent needed, even better than two out of every three voters approving it, the vote topped 70 percent and finished at 71.
The bond election will allow the district to add on to and upgrade three elementary schools: Madison, Washington and Buchanan with a cost of $22 million. It also will most likely mean the closing of Jefferson School, something the board has considered for some time.
Buchanan would become a kindergarten/first grade learning center, while Madison would become the second and third grade center followed by Washington, which would become fourth and fifth grade center.
The 25-year bond would be a virtual extension of the Huron Middle School bond, which should be paid off this year.
The district said that the additional funds beyond those taxpayers were already paying would amount to around $20 a year per $100,000 of property valuation.
Among the changes would be additional classrooms.
Madison, which will get new classrooms this summer through funding from the capital fund, has broken ground on eight new classrooms and an additional set of bathrooms.
Similarly, both Washington and Buchanan would get classrooms, and the lunchroom/gymnasium issues at all three schools would also be addressed.
Currently, each school’s gymnasium doubles as a cafeteria, and increased student population has even pushed school assemblies to be split up into groups so that all the children can experience them.
A bigger gymnasium will accommodate the growing number of students in the district, plus the “old” gym area will be a commons area for lunch.
Technological upgrades will also be involved as the schools, which were built more than 40 years ago, will be brought into the 21st century as places to learn.
Newcomers to the school board
Garret Bischoff, who was the chair of the KIDS First committee also received good news Tuesday night that he was elected to fill one of the two school board seats that were being contested.
Incumbent Michele Bennett was running for re-election against challengers Garret Bischoff and Sherman Gose.
Two seats were open in the election as current board member Nicole Yost decided not to run again because her professional career may take her out of the area.
Gose received 2,535 votes to take one seat and Bischoff finished with 2,327 to take the other. Bennett finished with 861 votes.
Turnout for the election often runs between 20 and 25 percent, but bond election and a hotly contested mayor’s race saw one in three eligible voters cast ballots (33 percent) which amounts to an 8 percent increase.
The school board’s plan will have all construction completed before the 2015-2016 school year.
Bischoff and Gose will be sworn in at the July meeting of the school board.
For the complete article see the 04-17-2013 issue.
Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 04-17-2013 paper.
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