Schools bonds fail

By: 
KATHLEEN GILLULY
Outlook managing editor

 

Despite residents in the Laurel school district failing to vote for the elementary and high school bonds, the administration is hopeful they can move forward educating the public and working towards remedies.

“We don’t know why the bonds failed,” Supt. Linda Filpula said Wednesday morning. “We’re going to need to take some time to reflect and listen and to figure out why people didn’t support it.” She said the board would begin by looking at the data and start the discussion at the next board meeting, Monday, Nov. 13.

“We have the same problems we had last year, yesterday and last week,” Filpula said. “We still have overcrowding and increasing enrollment. We had a pipe that broke at Graff yesterday. The fire department had to come in. There was water everywhere. We have ongoing issues we need to address. We are short on staff.”

The Superintendent said discussions with the public have to continue as the issues won’t go away.

“I haven’t heard people really upset about the plan,” she said. “Maybe they just aren’t voting for anything that will raise taxes. So we will regroup and continue educating people about the issues we’re facing.”   

The overall school population has grown by 152 students over the last decade, beyond previous expectations; maintenance has been delayed in some buildings and the middle school may not meet student-teacher ratio requirements for the third year in a row. 

 

What was at stake?

In the Laurel Elementary District, voters were asked to approve the issuance of bonds up to $37,639 million to pay for the cost of acquiring property and building a new elementary school, as well as make improvements to West Elementary School to increase capacity and function and to convert Graff Elementary School into an administration building. The elementary bond proposition failed by 492 votes with 1,489 yes votes to 1,981 no votes.

The Laurel High School bond proposal would have given the district authority to issue bonds up to $14,924 million. Much of the money would have gone to improvements at the high school and to renovate South Elementary School for career and vocational development.

Yes for Laurel’s Future, a group promoting passage of the bonds  released a statement on its Facebook site. Its content proves the group plans to continue the push to improve Laurel schools.

“Thank you everyone for all of your support! As of the first reading, both bonds have failed. We will continue to work with the community as we go forward. We are not done, and will continue to fight for the future of our community,” the statement read.

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