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Northeast Iowa Voters Pass, Reject School Bond Issues

Ballot box with person casting vote on blank voting slip
Courtesy: BrianAJackson – ThinkStock

It was a split decision for two multi-million bond issues that were on the ballot in Northeast Iowa school districts on Tuesday (Dec. 6, 2016).

East Buchanan voters approved a $6.5 million referendum to finance improvements at the high school in Winthrop, while Janesville voters rejected a $5.4 million measure for the second time in eight months.

Passage of the bond issue in the East Buchanan district means that property taxes for a home valued at $100,000 will increase about $58 per year. The money will pay for several planned projects at the high school, including an industrial tech addition, a multi-purpose and storm shelter room, and a new gymnasium with locker rooms and fine arts stage.

The measure passed by a 63- to 37-percent margin, with 592 voters saying “yes” and 350 saying “no”. The referendum required 60-percent voter approval.

The bond issue was a scaled-back version of a $7.2 million measure that garnered only 48-percent vote last fall.

The $5.4 million measure rejected by voters in the Janesville Considated School District on Tuesday would have generated money to finance a new gymnasium and additional classroom space for elementary and early childhood education.

Unofficial results show 522 voters — or 50.14 percent — favored the referendum, while 519 cast their ballots against it. The bond issue was basically the same one that previously failed by just 14 votes in April.

The measure would have increased property taxes by $2.70 per $1,000 of assessed value over 20 years.

While referendums were decided in Janesville and East Buchanan Tuesday, voters in two other northeast Iowa school districts agreed to the renew a Physical Plant and Equipment Levy (PPEL) to finance infrastructure upkeep. In Cedar Falls, 1,894 voters (77 percent) said “yes”, while 536 (23-percent) said “no”. In Tripoli, 126 voters (67.4 percent) favored the PPEL renewal, while 61 (32.6-percent) were against it.

Each of the PPEL renewal measures required only a simple majority to pass.

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