Marshall voters have once again rejected a school district proposal, which would build new educational facilities and renovate the city's aged middle school.
A bond issue proposal that would have raised $11.9 million for the construction of a new three-grade upper elementary building, renovations at Bueker Middle School and an addition to Marshall High School was defeated 1,739 to 1,220 Tuesday, according to unofficial results.
Bond issue supporters, including district administrators, school board members, teachers and members of the district Facility Committee, gathered Tuesday evening in the Saline County Courthouse to watch the election returns come in. Even as it became apparent that the issue would fail, those in attendance kept their sense of humor.
George Clemens, who chaired the latest edition of the Facility Committee, told everyone who worked on the project that despite the loss, they could keep their pride.
"I think we can walk with our heads up," he said. "There wasn't anything else we could do."
Clemens also expressed some frustration with the voters of Marshall. "I hate to say it, I guess Marshall's just not ready for progression," he said.
Saline County Clerk Ken Bryant, the county's chief election official, noted that the issue had received a positive early indicator. It carried the absentee vote by a margin of 59 to 38.
"The absentee vote is usually a pretty good indicator of the way the rest of the vote will go," he said.
However, the issue failed to carry any other precinct. Ward 1 residents voted the measure down 565 to 412. In Ward 2, it received 398 "no" votes to 318 "yes" votes. Ward 3 saw the issue fail 330 to 239 and in Ward 4 it went down 315 to 167.
In the Blackwater township, the issue was voted down 67 to 22 and it received only one positive vote in each of the Hardeman, Herndon and Mt. Leonard townships. It received 13 "no" votes in Hardeman, 9 in Herndon and 4 in Mt. Leonard.
For Marshall Superintendent of Schools Joe Aull, the key word Wednesday morning was disappointment. Aull said he was disappointed for district students and for the Facility Committee, which had worked for nearly two years to plan and promote the issue.
"Anytime a bond issue like this goes down you're disappointed," he said.
Aull said the district will continue to do the best it can to offer quality educational services to its students. He said Marshall is fortunate to have quality staff members and effective programs in place. However, the matter of the district's aging building hasn't gone away.
"We'll have to go back to the drawing board," Aull said. "We still have facility needs that we have to address."