When the unofficial results were tabulated Tuesday night, the Frazee-Vergas School Board and administration were left wondering what went wrong: The $25.6 million bond referendum for improvements to the district's K-12 academic and athletic facilities had failed to pass by a margin of 1,122 "no" votes to 632 "yes."
Frazee-Vergas Superintendent Terry Karger admitted that he was surprised by the results.
"I thought with the revised plan and how close we were (to passing the referendum) last time, that it would make a difference," he said. "But it didn't, so now we're going to have to regroup, and reflect, and see where we want to go from here."
The school board called for Tuesday's special election earlier this spring, in hopes of getting district voters' approval to proceed with $25.6 million in proposed safety and parking improvements, as well as building renovations and additions at both the high school and elementary school sites, and relocation and upgrades to the high school athletic facilities.
As Karger indicated, it was the second time the school board had sought approval for the plan. This past November, there was a referendum with three questions on that ballot, and voters only said "yes" to one of them: A $3.5 million property tax levy for proposed improvements to the elementary school.
The other two questions on that ballot pertained to $25.6 million in proposed safety and parking improvements, building renovations and additions, and relocation and upgrades to the high school athletic facilities. Those two questions were interdependent, with approval of the second question dependent upon approval of the first.
This time, the board opted to go with one, simplified question, seeking approval of a revised plan that addressed some additional needs while scaling back on other areas to stay within the $25.6 million levy figure that was proposed last fall.
Unfortunately, voters still didn't see eye-to-eye with the board, leaving them to go back to the drawing board once again.