It’s been 10 years since the Clintonville School District underwent a referendum, and it appears that streak will continue after voters rejected taking on $24.9 million in general obligation debt to fund the construction of a new elementary school, along with other improvements.
Clintonville had a voter turnout of 33 percent in the city and the “no” vote defeated the approval 466 to 329. Clintonville Superintendent Tom O’Toole, says he knew the results would be tight, but with how the referendum was designed, he’s still surprised with the results.
“We had a community committee and no one was denied membership to this committee, so anybody in the whole district could have been apart of this situation,” O’Toole told TCHDailyNews after the results came in Tuesday night. “We did a lot of study. We knew it was going to be close, but I guess now we’ll have to see what other ideas come forward.”
When asked why he thought voters weren’t ready to take on the referendum, O’Toole pointed to possible misinformation about the potential project.
“I think the way campaign was designed was to try and get out as much positive and factual information that there could be,” O’Toole said. “There was not a designed “yes” campaign. That was not how this was presented. It was just to present information to people and give them that information and let them make up their minds.”
There were 31 community members that made up the community committee, but now O’Toole questions where the district will go from here.
“[The community committee] brought a recommendation to the board, so I don’t know if that committee will reconvene, or if the board will want them to reconvene,” said O’Toole. “It sounds like we may have a new board, so we may get some new direction from them.”
Jim Schultz and Kristine Strauman were the candidates to secure spots on the Clintonville School Board, defeating Thomas G. Neely and Larry Czarnecki.