West Clermont bond issue fails

February 8th, 2007    Author: Rodney Beckwith    Filed Under: News

The West Clermont School District suffered another defeat at the polls after a snowy day of voting. On Feb. 6, approximately 7,000 voters cast their ballots and of that, about 57 percent cast a dissenting vote for the bond issue.

“Obviously, we’re disappointed,” said Dr. Gary Brooks, West Clermont Superintendent. “We were unable to communicate our message of need of facilities to our residents as clearly as we needed to. The board will have to reconsider how to move forward with providing adequate facilities for students. We’ll be looking at that in the weeks and months ahead.”

In all, 4,115 voters disagreed with the bond issue, while 3,085 supported the measure which would have replaced four aging elementary schools. The bond issue would have been for 2.4 mills and would have raised $53 million to build new schools to replace Amelia, Brantner, Summerside and Withamsville-Tobasco elementaries. This marked the third time the issue was defeated. Last November, the issue failed by only 13 votes, but suffered a wider margin of defeat the year before when it included a measure to make improvements to athletic facilities at the Amelia and Glen Este high schools, which has since been dropped.

Dr. Brooks said that he felt there was some misinformation spread by opponents of the bond issue that could have confused voters.

"I think there was some disinformation put out by the anti-bond issue group who were trying to confuse the bond issue with an operating levy, which are two separate issues," said Dr. Brooks. "I think there was some confusion about what the money was to be used for among some folks. I certainly think the weather conditions played havoc on the day. Only 7,000 turned out and we had 22,000 in the last election. That's a marked difference."

Dr. Brooks said that he expects the West Clermont School Board to discuss the issue at an upcoming meeting, if not at the next scheduled meeting.

"They will discuss it in upcoming meetings," said Dr. Brooks. "I'm sure there will be some comment made at the next meeting. We're in the process of putting our agenda together for the next meeting."
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