School bond elections succeeded in some districts; failed in others

School officials celebrated bond issue victories in some districts, but bond proposals were defeated in several other districts as voters produced mixed results during Tuesday’s election.

At least six districts succeeded in approving bonds to improve their districts while seven rejected them, according to unofficial results.

Those approved and their amounts were Emporia USD 253 ($78 million); Eureka USD 389 ($4.8 million); Flinthills USD 492 ($3.9 million); Little River-Windom USD 444 ($18.17 million); Riley County USD 378 ($15 million) and Spearville USD 381 ($5.8 million).

Those voted down were Barber County USD 254 (two propositions, $16.9 million and $6.7 million); Bluestem USD 205 ($12.5 million); Conway Springs USD 356 ($8.5 million); Holton USD 336 ($4.5 million); Nickerson USD 309 ($29.9 million); Onaga 322 ($8 million) and Russell County USD 407 ($9.9 million).

After passage by 63 percent to 37 percent, Emporia Schools tweeted: “Thanks to the voter approval, we will begin the next phase of the process to develop a comprehensive schedule of next steps.” The bonds will be used for building improvements, new construction and safety and security.

The $9.9 million bond measure Russell County USD 407 failed with 962 `no’ votes to 642 `yes’ votes. The funds were to be used for HVAC and electric improvements for the district that saw its high school closed for several days last winter because of cold temperatures and a broken boiler. It was the second time this year the school district sought help; voters rejected a $17.9 million bond issue in April.

“We do the best we can with grants, we do the best we can with donations and fundraising. But there comes a time where we have to ask for taxes and that’s where we’re at,” Superintendent Shelly Swayne told KSN.com.

Some contests were extremely close — the Bluestem bond issue failed by 11 votes out of more than 800 cast — while others weren’t — Nickerson’s was defeated by a nearly 4-to-1 margin.

For those that were rejected, some school officials were reassessing whether to propose a different bond project in future months. For those that succeeded, the next step was implementing the improvements.

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