Goshen $17M school proposal passes

GOSHEN, Ind. – Voters overwhelmingly approved a $17 million school improvement project, in exchange for higher taxes.

The turnout for Tuesday’s special election was lower than Elkhart County Clerk Wendy Hudson expected.

“I don’t even know what to say about it,” said Hudson. “I’ve been hearing people voicing their opinion about it for the last few weeks, and people seemed very strongly opinionated one way or the other.”

There are more than 22,000 eligible voters in the 21 Goshen precincts that had open polls Tuesday; about 3,400 voters showed up to cast their ballot.

More than 60 percent of voters who did turn out supported the school measure, among them school employees.

Jeremiah Wade is one of those teachers.

He says the choice was easy for him, “anybody who spends any time in the schools, especially the high school and middle school, knows that we are in dire need of something new.”

For Wade and other parents and teachers who supported the proposal, the idea of paying a little more in taxes every year was not too hard to swallow.

“The amount that it’s going to increase our taxes is rather negligible,” said Wade.

The results at several precincts did show many voters expressed a great amount of disapproval for the ballot measure. However the wide majority of those in favor of the plan greatly outweighed their voice.

Now that the election is over, the remaining 85 percent of voters will have to live with the consequences of their silence.

The win for the ‘Yes’ result means property taxes will now exceed the property tax cap, and Goshen schools will get a new Olympic-size swimming pool at a cost of $10 million.

The remaining $7 million will go toward improving the high school’s band room, which was not renovated in the late 90’s when the money for those renovations ran out before it could be updated.

The cafeteria at the middle school will also be expanded allowing the school to cut the number of lunch periods they need to get kids fed from four to three.

According to the school district, they will now being drawing up the plans for these projects and hope to break ground on them as early as next August. They have set a goal to wrap-up all the renovations by January 2016.

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