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Tea Area School Deciding What's Next After Failed Bond Vote

May 14, 2014, 4:59 PM by Hailey Higgins

Tea Area School Deciding What's Next After Failed Bond Vote
TEA, SD -

Two votes are all that separated the Tea Area School District from giving students more space.

It's also the difference between the number of votes that were counted and the number of voters who went to the polls.  But even with that inconsistency, the superintendent doesn't expect the outcome of the vote to change.

For more than a year, the district has wanted to get rid of temporary buildings and expand the elementary school and build a fine arts building. But Tuesday, those $10 million plans were shot down by voters.

"I would be lying if I didn't say it was heartbreaking," Tea Area Superintendent Jennifer Lowery said.

There is a somber mood in Lowery's office.  She says she's crushed by the bond's failure after months of trying to get it passed.

"It's exhausting but I have faith. I have faith in the community," Lowery said.

The district needs 60 percent of voters to sign off with the plans to expand. In September, an $11 million bond fell 30 votes short. After revamping the plan, the district was 14 votes shy in December.

Lowery isn't sure what the district's next move will be, if it will try again or give up. People in Tea have mixed reactions.

"I think they should try it again," Miranda Sullenger said. "Because the kids need somewhere to go. They can't just be cramped somewhere in one spot."

"I honestly think they should give up," Alexis Woite said. "Not very many people want to expand."

Because the votes were so close, Lowery hopes someone in the community steps forward and asks for a recount, which must be requested within five days of the election.

"Could the results change? Yes. Do I think that they will? Probably not," Lowery said.

The ballot inconsistency issue will be addressed during the canvass Wednesday night.

  September 2013 December 2013 May 2014
Voter Turnout 32% 36% 42.4%
Yes 57% 58.89% 59.88%
No 43% 41.11% 40.12%

 

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