After months of contentious debate, voters in Dickinson voted against the bond referendum to build a new high school and partially fund a new elementary school or additions to existing schools, according to unofficial results.

The uncanvassed vote count stands at 2,076 for and 2,703 against. To pass, a 60% supermajority was required; only 43% was achieved at polling close on Tuesday night.

“That’s unofficial. We have some ballots going to canvassing. Their (school) board will do that. That will have to be done next week, no sooner than Monday,” said Stark County Auditor Kay Haag.

The Dickinson Public School Board will canvass and certify the referendum results at their next board meeting on Monday, May 13.

“We will discuss our next steps at our board meeting. It will be hard as this plan was truly the best option for our students, our staff, and our community,” said School Board President Brent Seaks, in a press release.

At the last community forum for the project, Superintendent Shon Hocker expressed his wish to call for a vote again after the time required by law, should the bond fail by a narrow margin.

Seaks responded to the unofficial outcome in a press release: “I am surprised and disappointed. If this vote had passed now, we could have immediately started implementing a plan to address the critical needs and challenges of our district. Instead, we must now regroup and figure out what we must do to address our capacity issues, safety issues and failing facilities.”

In a press release, Hocker said he still believes the community wants what is best for its students.

“Sometimes the best plans to move forward fall short. This is the case today,” he said. “Although I would have preferred our students receive a confirming vote today from our community regarding this very important referendum, I am committed to providing the best educational opportunities for our students and community as possible. Many difficult decisions are ahead. We will regroup and make plans to move forward.”