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MACCRAY rejects bond issue in close vote

Briana Sanchez / Tribune Deanna Stutelberg and Carol Thomton, election judges, assist people Tuesday at MACCRAY High School in Clara City.1 / 2
Briana Sanchez / Tribune Tiffany Johnson cast her ballot Tuesday at MACCRAY East Elementary School in Raymond.2 / 2

CLARA CITY - Voters in the MACCRAY School District rejected a $38.8 million bond referendum for a single-campus system in a down-to-the wire vote on Tuesday.

Unofficial results show voters rejected the bond issue by a 1,108 "no" to 1,003 "yes'' tally, or a 52 percent to 48 percent showing.

The measure was leading until the final numbers arrived from Maynard shortly before 9:30 p.m.

"Disappointed,'' said Lane Schwitters, chair of the MACCRAY school board. He said the close vote doesn't give the school board any direction forward. He said the district has to address its building needs, but now also faces the challenge of a school board divided three-to-three over the issue.

Voters in the Maynard and Raymond areas - which stood to lose their elementary schools - rejected the measure. Maynard voters cast 329 votes against the measure and 96 for it. Raymond voters opposed the measure by 432 to 54 votes.

Clara City voters supported the measure by a 282 "yes" to 186 "no" tally. Absentee ballots favored the measure by a 572 "yes" to 161 "no" count.

The proposal called for building an estimated $27.8 million preK-6 elementary school and a 500-seat auditorium on the high school campus in Clara City. It also included building support facilities at the athletic facilities in Raymond and Maynard.

The MACCRAY East and West elementary schools in Maynard and Raymond would have been razed unless buyers were found for them.

This is the second time voters in the MACCRAY district rejected a single campus proposal. Voters rejected a $20 million bond proposal in 2014 by a 1,067 to 733 count.

Superintendent of Schools Brian Koslofsky said the results will be difficult for those who had supported the proposal, but he remains optimistic. "We'll stay strong as a district,'' he said.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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