Top 10 of 2015: #4 St. Cloud Area School District Referendum Fails
ST. CLOUD - We continue our countdown of the Top 10 local news stories of 2015 with a look back at our #4 story of the year.
Voters in the St. Cloud Area School District rejected a $167 million bond referendum in November. There were 7,393 ‘yes’ votes, and 8,460 ‘no’ votes. That’s 53 percent voting no, and 47 percent voting yes.
When the final results came in on election night, school board chair Dennis Whipple told supporters is was a hard and emotional to hear the results.
"If you see a teacher or student it’s going to be hard to look them in the eye, it’s really going to be hard. Let’s all do really well tomorrow for them."
If the referendum would have passed, $113.8 million would have been used to build a new Tech High School, $46.5 million to renovate Apollo High School, $4.2 million for technology upgrades, and $2.5 million for security improvements at all of the district’s schools.
The proposed new Tech High would have been 360,000 square feet and would hold up to 1,800 students. It's proposed location is at 33rd Street South and County Road 75. Apollo High School is 45 years old, district officials stressed the importance of updating its entrance and interior to create more space.
Superintendent Willie Jett says another bond referendum will be brought to the community, but not until at least the fall of 2016. It could also be in the spring of 2017.
“First and foremost, an important step is to re-engage with the community and listen. Very simply, we just need to understand why people supported the referendum or why they voted no. This information is critical for us as we move forward,” Jett said earlier this month.
Jett adds their facility needs aren't going away and that they're working to adjust their plan and listen to community feedback.
“We understand that the need is pressing and the need is not going away, but at the same time we want to be sure that we’re doing this correctly.”