SB-L officials look towards next step for 'crowded' high school
SERGEANT BLUFF, Iowa (KTIV) -- Sergeant Bluff-Luton says its high schoolers need more room to learn, but Tuesday night, voters turned down a levy that would have added more classrooms and learning space.
Out of more than 3,600 registered voters in the district, only 569 voted last night -- that's 15% voter turnout. Of those voters, 60% said "no" to a proposed five million dollar high school expansion project.
Sergeant Bluff-Luton's superintendent says without more space, for now, high schoolers in the growing district will continue to learn in cramped quarters.
While the news that the levy was voted down came as a shock to Sergeant Bluff-Luton Superintendent Rod Earleywine, this isn't the first time registered voters in the school district rejected a measure to expand.
Three years ago, the district voted on a $20 million bond issue for a brand new high school. But it was rejected by a 71% margin.
"So, we went back to the drawing board, developed a district facility committee, had a lot of input and developed this plan," said Rod Earleywine, Sergeant Bluff-Luton Superintendent.
In this plan, the $5 million would have gone towards expanding the building including 5 new classrooms, 2 music rooms, a science lab, renovating the kitchen area, restrooms and expanding their commons area.
"It meets the needs of our students and the needs of our district for 8 to 10 years and we believed it was a solid plan," said Earleywine.
Voters apparently thought otherwise.
"I think we had a lot of support in the community for it, but I don't think all of the people that supported the plan and support renovating it and adding on to the high school, I don't think all of those people showed up to vote," said Earleywine.
Earleywine says now, they have to look beyond the ballot.
"Is our next step, in fact, to wait six months and try to pass the same plan or do we go back to the drawing board and look at other options?" asked Earleywine.
Earleywine says that means students will continue to try to cram in their studies in cramped space.
"If you don't have the room, you don't have a lot of options," said Earleywine.
Until then the district facility committee will meet again and try to decide on its best option.
"We spent a lot time, effort, energy on this plan and looking at lots of different options. If what we developed isn't the right plan isn't the right option, what is the best plan? What are the best options? Because doing nothing is not acceptable," said Earleywine.
Superintendent Rod Earleywine says he's hoping the district facility committee will meet in the next month to decide the next step for the high school.