CLARA CITY — The fourth time proved to be the charm, as voters in the MACCRAY School District approved a $39.5 million bond issue for a central campus. Voters also overwhelmingly approved continuing the district's $1,103.14-per-pupil operating levy in Tuesday's referendum, according to unofficial results.

Three prior bonding questions had failed in the past four years.

Voters cast 1,141 "yes" ballots to 873 "no" ballots to approve the $39.5 million bond issue. It calls for building a new elementary school as part of a single-campus system at the high school campus in Clara City. It also includes building a 500-seat auditorium, developing a three-station gymnasium, and upgrading the kitchen and dining areas. The $6 million cost of the auditorium is included in the bond total. There is $2 million allocated for decommissioning the elementary schools in Raymond and Maynard.

Voters supported continuing the $1,103.14-per-pupil operating levy by a 1,524 "yes" to 492 "no" tally. The operating levy raises more than $700,000 in revenue annually for the district. If not continued, the district would have had to make significant cuts in staffing and programs, according to Superintendent Sherri Broderius.

Voters in Clara City supported the building bond by a 272 to 131 vote.

Voters in the MACCRAY East area, including Raymond and neighboring townships, opposed the bond with 123 voting in favor to 361 voting against. Voters in the MACCRAY West area, including Maynard and neighboring townships, opposed it with 100 in favor to 287 against.

Absentee voters gave the building bond measure the biggest support, with 646 "yes" to 94 "no" votes, or a total of 740 absentee ballots. The absentee ballots included 502 from the Clara City area; 195 from the Maynard area and 45 from the Raymond area.