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Voters reject scaled down Menahga School referendum

Menahga School District voters saw shorter lines at Tuesday's election due to absentee voting and longer hours. The voters said "no" to the building project with 586 "no" ballots and 549 "yes" ballots. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)

Menahga School district voters said "no" again to a referendum to expand the school with 549 yes votes and 586 no votes.

This time the project was scaled down by about $3 million. An $8.5 million referendum was voted down in November by about 56 percent of voters.

"It was disappointing, that's for sure," said Superintendent Mary Klamm. "But not surprising."

The special election ballot included two questions.

The first question asked voters to authorize the school district to issue general obligation school building bonds for $4.95 million to include construction and equipping of five elementary classrooms, a gymnasium, women's and men's locker rooms, a concession and foyer area, bathrooms, a training room and referee facility, kitchen and gym storage and the remodeling of the agricultural shop to include a weight room.

The second question on the ballot asked voters to authorize the school district to issue an additional $560,000 in bonds, to include the construction and equipping of two high school classrooms, one high school science lab and the remodeling of existing high school science classrooms to create three elementary classrooms.

The unofficial results reported by the school district are 549 yes votes for question one and 586 no votes. Seven ballots were blank.

For question two there were 529 yes votes and 600 no votes. Thirteen ballots were blank.

The total number of voters was 1,142, up from the number of voters in the fall. In the fall, out of 1,075 voters, the referendum failed 609 to 466.

The results were disappointing for Klamm because she said the school district and school board worked very hard to get the information out there.

"But the negative campaign against the students, in my opinion, clouded the facts," she said.

The needs for classroom space, gym space and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act still exist, Klamm said.

"Every one of our needs is still there and we'll need to talk about our options," she said.

The Menahga School Board is meeting Monday at 6 p.m. to canvass the election results and discuss its options.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561