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Manawa passes referendum

Majority affirmed both questions

By Holly Neumann

Voters were asked two questions for the Manawa School District referendum on the Nov. 6 ballot.

The first: Should the district be allowed to issue bonds not to exceed $12 million for Jr./Sr. high school additions, district-wide renovations, and safety upgrades?

The voters responded with 1,188 (58 percent) voting yes and 859 (42 percent) voting no.

Voters aslo approved the second question: Should the district be allowed to exceed the state’s revenue limit by $365,000 in the 2019-2020 school year to demolish the former elementary school. The yes vote took the win with 1,046 (53 percent) voting yes and 944 (47 percent) voting no.

“To me it means reinvesting in our community by reinvesting in our schools,” said Joanne Johnson, school board president. “Thriving schools benefit our community as a whole and make us stronger.”

District Administrator Melanie Oppor agreed.

“The passage of these two referenda affirm this community’s support of the highest quality education for our youth,” said Oppor. “More importantly, the financial support ensures that the district will be able to provide safe and efficient learning spaces for students and staff. Thriving schools support a vibrant community.”

She added that this is an exciting time to be a part of the Manawa School District.

“The district has a long tradition of taking pride in the exceptional education provided to all students. We want to ensure that all students and staff can learn and work in safe and efficient learning spaces,” Oppor said. “The taxpayers understood the much-needed high cost maintenance items and capital improvement projects could not be completed without a new source of revenue. We are so grateful for this opportunity.”

The results of a citizen survey earlier this year guided the design of the referendum projects and helped district personnel prioritize projects based on the level of public support.

“The district taxpayers were asked their opinions on everything from which projects they favored to their comfort level with various property tax levels,” said Oppor. “Many public listening sessions were held across the district and the voices of the citizens were heard.”

Oppor went on to say that the district has repeatedly made a commitment to this community, that the wishes of the citizens would be honored.

“It is our sincere hope that these good faith actions will go a long way in rebuilding and maintaining trust between the district and the community,” she said.

The referendum projects will get under way this spring with the reconfiguration of the elementary school bus turn around and parking project.

“The new high school back-up generator will be installed within the next couple of months, however,” said Oppor. “The high school’s back-up generator failed earlier this fall but was on the list of referendum projects.”

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