A lot of passion about improving schools, but not enough support in both Niles and Cassopolis.
A victory sign was put up at the YMCA while voters were hoping for the best but preparing for the worst..a second defeat. Just last year, the school bond was voted down in Niles.
The goal this time around was to pass two bonds totaling close to 40 billion dollars. 37.1 million would've been used to renovate all elementary schools in Niles and address safety, traffic flow, and technology needs. The other 2.37 million would go to adult education and central administration. Taxpayers would've seen an increase of about 180 dollars per year on an average priced home.
Those who voted in favor of the bond say this is frustrating because the community was able to help re-craft these proposals. Judy Truesdell says, “It's a very disappointing outcome, but as we told the voters when we met with our 45 groups and organizations, if this plan doesn't pass, we will be back. We have no choice. This is about education. It's our children."
In Cassapolis, a defeat but a different sceanario. While Niles had a very low voter turnout, the organizers of the Yes! Kids Committee say they had a record breaking number of voters turnout for this school election. They saw almost double the amount of voters show up. In fact, some of the precincts ran out of ballots around 5 pm.
This school district has not passed a bond in over 13 years. So, those who support it say change is necessary. The 29.5 million dollar bond would've renovated the high school and buit a new pre-kindergarten through grade eight school . Taxpayers would've seen an increase of 200-300 dollars per year on an average priced home.
Those who worked hard to support this bond say the taxpayer dollars would've been well spent. Schools are struggling. Becky Daniels says, "Yes, it's an expensive project but people in this community have either had kids or grandkids who have gone to school here and someone paid for their education. So, it's only right that they have someone pay for the next generation."