Galesburg-Augusta school officials regroup after bond fails by 2 votes

Elections

GALESBURG, Mich. (WOOD) — School officials in Galesburg will go back to the drawing board after preliminary results show the school district’s bond proposal failed by two votes, 805 to 803.

“We’re not ready to say that we lost and we’re not about to give up because this is too important to our children,” said Wendy Maynard-Somers, the superintendent of Galesburg-Augusta Community Schools.

The bond would have generated $14.99 million for the district, set at 1.5 mills, which proposal organizers listed as $6.25 per month for the average tax payer.

About $6.4 million would have gone to the high school, adding multi-purpose space for their programs and updating equipment. $4.7 million would have been dedicated to the athletic facility, adding a new athletic field for physical education classes and several sports teams, along with new restroom and concession facilities. Just under $4 million would be used to expand the elementary school, adding four new classrooms and adding a more secure entryway to the back of the building. Somers says these aren’t projects they can simply walk away from and that the district and the community need to find a way to fund them.

“These facilities are needed,” Somers said.

“We’ve been adding programs, preschool,” she said. “We (don’t) have room anymore for everything. We had to shift our fourth grade temporarily over to the middle school, and our eighth grade over to the high school. Neither one of those grade levels belong in those buildings. The fourth grade needs to be at an elementary. The eighth grade deserves to be at their middle school. They’re not high schoolers.”

Somers said the district can’t take action until the results are certified, but she has already been in contact with the Kalamazoo County Clerk and the District Attorney for requesting a recount.

“I’ve already been contacted by lots of voters who very much would like to ask for a recount and make sure that every ballot has been counted and counted accurately,” said Somers.

The district has several options on the table — all involving another bond proposal — whether it is putting the same one forward in another election or breaking it down into smaller amounts and focusing on one project at a time.

Said Somers: “We can’t give up. If that means going back for another request, that may be what we need to do.”

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