Beatrice voters soundly defeat a $33.9 million dollar school bond issue to build a new elementary school.
The unofficial vote count was 3,065 opposed with 1,974 in favor; nearly 61% voting against the measure. Gage County conducted the election by mail-in ballot and drew one of the largest turnouts of any county election, nearly 63%.
Beatrice School Superintendent Pat Nauroth admits the defeat surprised him and says the district must determine why voters turned against the proposal.
“We’ll probably go back as a board and sit down, look at the data, probably sit down with some people and talk about, ok, what could we do differently or what should we do, because as I said the need is still there,” Nauroth tells Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KWBE.
The proposed elementary facility was designed to replace four separate elementary buildings constructed in the 1950s. The Beatrice School Board proposed a 25-year bond issue that would have raised property taxes on every $100,000 valuation by approximately $119.
Nauroth is trying to assess what the defeat means for the district.
“As I said, the need hasn’t gone away just because of the vote,” according to Nauroth. “So, I think we’re going to have to go back in and take a serious look at how we move forward at this point. The board did not have a Plan B, because they felt Plan A was the right plan.”
Nauroth says the discussion of facilities was a major part of the district’s strategic plan, and will continue to be an important part as the administration and school board update that plan in the near future.
Doug Kennedy, KWBE, contributed to this story.