Goshen $17 million school improvement plan passes

Goshen, Ind. The vote on a series of improvements to Goshen Middle and High School has passed.

It didn’t take long before Goshen Schools’ superintendent, Diane Woodworth and school board president Jane Troup realized their multi-million dollar proposal to renovate Goshen’s middle and high school was going to pass.

“Now the real work begins” said Woodworth just before she and Troup exchanged a celebratory high-five.

Tuesday, Goshen voters approved the $17 million school improvement project with 2,099 votes “yes” and 1,341 votes “no.” That means a new pool and more space for the schools’ music programs, cafeteria and kitchen areas as well as a slew of other improvements for the two school buildings.

The special referendum is the first one Goshen voters have seen since the 1960’s said Wayne Kramer, a representative of the election board. State officials mandated that Goshen hold a referendum on the project since it would raise property tax caps.

On average, Goshen residents will pay roughly $3.09 more per month in property taxes to pay for the project. The potential tax hike was enough to drive a handful of opponents to Goshen school board meetings.

Troup could remember only about 100-150 people turning up at the school board’s meeting in opposition to the project.

“This is kind of where I thought the numbers would turn out. I was hopeful there would be more people out for the schools,” said Troup after the votes were counted, “I'm just glad the vote turned out the way it did.”

The school board can now move forward with drawing up plans and schematics for the upgrades. Superintendent Woodworth hopes to break ground in August 2014 with completion for use by 2016.

“it means some exciting renovations for the students,” Woodworth explained Tuesday night, “all of our students go through one middle school in our district. And they eat lunch right now starting at 10:30 a.m. through 1:00 p.m. so the renovations will reduce the four lunch hours down to three. Hopefully we can get a more normal lunch time for them.” Better lunch times in addition to better music spaces, better pool facilities and expanded classrooms.

For Woodworth the improvements have been a long time coming. The high school’s pool celebrates its 52nd birthday on Thursday of this week, and the renovations that were short changed in the 1990s thanks to a lack of funding have yet to be finished.

Thanks to a dedicated group of parents in the form of a Political Action Committee the campaign for the board’s proposal did not run out of support. According to Woodworth and Troup, the success in Tuesday night’s election is attributable to the PAC volunteers who handed out flyers on First Fridays in downtown Goshen.

Here’s the breakdown precinct by precinct:

Elkhart 1: 5.89% voter turnout, 40 YES, 39 NO
Elkhart 2: 12.59% voter turnout, 20 YES, 15 NO
Elkhart 3: 7.55% voter turnout, 34 YES, 57 NO
Elkhart 4: 10.82% voter turnout, 69 YES, 82 NO
Elkhart 5: 12.56% voter turnout, 62 YES, 87 NO
Elkhart 6: 20.09% voter turnout, 81 YES, 60 NO
Elkhart 7: 14.58% voter turnout, 69 YES, 99 NO
Elkhart 8: 7.23% voter turnout, 43 YES, 61 NO
Elkhart 9: 21.8% voter turnout, 104 YES, 90 NO
Elkhart 10: 16.9% voter turnout, 123 YES, 103 NO
Elkhart 11: 11.01% voter turnout, 25 YES, 24 NO
Elkhart 12: 23.75% voter turnout, 197 YES, 64 NO
Elkhart 13: 10.72% voter turnout, 94 YES, 49 NO
Elkhart 14: 22.13% voter turnout, 221 YES, 64 NO
Elkhart 15: 28.48% voter turnout, 234 YES, 136 NO
Elkhart 16: 15.84% voter turnout, 126 YES, 66 NO
Elkhart 17: 20.27% voter turnout, 136 YES, 62 NO
Elkhart 18: 12.81% voter turnout, 80 YES, 55 NO
Elkhart 19: 26.57% voter turnout, 268 YES, 63 NO
Elkhart 20: 8.30% voter turnout, 30 YES, 34 NO
Elkhart 21: 9.66% voter turnout, 43 YES, 31 NO

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