Early count suggests school proposal OK'd

Early count suggests school proposal OK'd

A ballot question that asked taxpayers to approve a bond issue to pay for an addition to Blue Ridge Junior High that would replace an elementary school passed by 17 votes, according to unofficial results.

The school board asked for voters to approve the question in order to tear down the existing Blue Ridge Mansfield Elementary and add on to Blue Ridge Junior High School in Mansfield to replace it.

The school district asked voters to approve issuing $6.5 million in bonds, which would likely cost the owner of a $100,000 about $10 more each year in higher property taxes, according to a mailing from the school district to parents.

The question was on the ballot in DeWitt, Piatt and McLean Counties.

It passed in Piatt County, 350 to 222, but didn't in DeWitt or McLean counties. In DeWitt County, it received 509 "no" votes and 402 "yes" votes. In McLean County, it received 107 "no" votes and 103 "yes" votes, according to unofficial results.

The "yes" votes in Piatt County were enough — barely — to allow the question to pass, although Superintendent Susan Wilson said she thinks it's too close to call. The final results could change, she said.

She said the school board will be looking into what to do next, whether that means going out for bids if it passes, or discussing whether to put the question back on the November ballot if it doesn't.

"With it being that close, there's probably a good chance" it will show up on the ballot again, Wilson said.

But even in that case, the school board will have to make some improvements required by the state in the Mansfield elementary school, because the school district will still need to use it for two more years, Wilson said.

She said she's not sure if the district will have to issue bonds to complete that work, if it becomes necessary.

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