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$89M high school bond fails by landslide, unofficially

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Thousands of Dickinson Public Schools district residents voted on a $89M bond referendum to fund a new high school. (Kayla Henson / The Dickinson Press)

Residents voted against a $89 million bond referendum to fund a new Dickinson High School, Tuesday.

The uncanvassed vote count stands at 1,463 for and 2,470 against. To pass, a 60% supermajority was required; only 37% was achieved at polling close on Tuesday night.

The results will remain unofficial until the school board canvasses and certifies the results at a special school board meeting on Sept. 16.

Less people turned out to vote on the bond, with 3,933 votes being cast at Dickinson High School and Dunn County Courthouse, compared to the previous number of 4,779 votes cast in May during the district's previous attempt at passing a bond for the school.

Dickinson Public Schools Superintendent Shon Hocker shared this statement following the results, “Unfortunately, numerous obstacles are presented to school districts and school boards when charged with providing appropriate opportunities for all students. One of those obstacles include the requirement of achieving 60% voter support to pass a school bond.”

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School Board President Brent Seaks was frustrated by the results.

"I am disappointed for my own children and for all the children in our district who deserve a better learning environment," he said. "I am disappointed for our high school teachers who deserve a better teaching environment. I am disappointed for the sake of our community as we become a less attractive place to live without a solution to our worn out and overcrowded high school. While I am not certain of our next step today, I do believe this community will rise to the challenge to meet the present and future educational needs of our kids.”

After May's failed attempt, the district asked for the community's input as to why it did or did not support the $115 million bond for a new high school. One of the most frequent responses was the price, so the district looked at how they could scale down the costs.

To reduce the cost to taxpayers, the district decided to hold off on funding for a new elementary school, which was also included in the last bond. It would have also used money from the building fund for the high school, instead of an elementary school. The Career and Technical Education Center would have been left unfinished, pending donations from the community and local businesses.

Related Topics: EDUCATIONDICKINSON PUBLIC SCHOOLSDICKINSON HIGH SCHOOL
Kayla Henson is a former Dickinson Press reporter.
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