Clark-Shawnee residents approve school construction issue

Christina Elliott, principal at Rockway Elementary School, talks about how the rain water runs down the wall with electrical equipment attached to it. BILL LACKEY/STAFF
Christina Elliott, principal at Rockway Elementary School, talks about how the rain water runs down the wall with electrical equipment attached to it. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

After several tries, it appears Clark-Shawnee Local will get a new school.

Clark County Board of Elections final unofficial results shows 1,627 voters cast ballots Tuesday for the $37 million bond issue to build a new elementary school across the street from Shawnee High School and renovate the high school. Only 1,321 said no.

“We are humbled, and we thank our community for investing in strong schools and continuing the legacy of excellence at Clark-Shawnee,” Superintendent Gregg Morris said.

MORE: Clark County rural districts face aging buildings, no voters

The bond issue was for 5.3 mills for 37 years and will cost the owner of a $100,000 house a little more than $15 a month.

Meanwhile, the state will contribute more than $15 million towards the project because of its passage. Clark-Shawnee has attempted to pass the exact same bond issue two times before and failed. If voters again rejected the issue, the money from the state would have no longer been guaranteed.

Morris said he was proud of the district and its supporters for never giving up.

“I think it’s just getting the message out and continuing with our community,” he said. “We work very hard during the other times too but we are out telling the story of the need.”

“We want to provide appropriate learning spaces for our kids,” he said. “We continued to try to reach out to as many people.”

MORE: Clark-Shawnee schools asking voters to OK issue for $37M project

The unofficial results showed that about 35 percent of registered voters voted in the election.

The Clark-Shawnee school bond has been hotly debated among residents for a while. Some voters believed a new school was a necessity for the district while others believed the district can do without.

“I think it is a need and not just something that we want,” voter Carol Weller said. “I have seven grandchildren that are in the Clark-Shawnee district, and I want to see them have a new building.”

She said two of her grandchildren go to Possum School. The school has seen several issues just in the past year including parts of a ceiling in a classroom falling, and in May students were evacuated due to a gas leak.

“That is an old building and has a lot of character, but the children do need air conditioning,” she said. “My grandsons complain greatly about how hot it is in the school.”

Resident David Garrett said he supported the bond issue Tuesday. He said it was important for the community to have good schools.

“I am here to be able to support the children,” he said.

Garrett said he has grandchildren in the district also and wants them to have the best education.

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“I think a new building will make a big difference, and I do want to see the children get a better education,” he said.

However, some residents have not been shy to voice their position on the bond issue either. Resident Alan Brown said he did not believe people trust the district enough to vote yes.

“People are not arguing that the buildings are in disrepair, but they do not like how they are being run,” he said.

Brown said he thinks some voters who voted yes in previous elections decided to vote no because they are tired of being asked for money.

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