Steamboat says ‘no’ to $92 million school bond, 79 percent opposed | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat says ‘no’ to $92 million school bond, 79 percent opposed

$92M building proposal fails by 4-to-1 margin

Teresa Ristow

Editor’s Note: This story has been edited to reflect a change in vote totals for Referenda 3A and 3B.

Steamboat Springs voters were resolute in their opposition to the school district's proposed $92 million bond measure Tuesday — with 79 percent voting against Referendum 3B.

If it had been approved, the measure would have funded the construction of a new high school off Downhill Drive and renovations of existing schools, including the conversion of the current Steamboat Springs Middle School to a third district elementary school, all measures meant to address sustained increasing enrollment in the Steamboat Springs School District.

The bond would have also funded millions in deferred maintenance, updated program spaces for students and incorporated preschool classrooms into district elementary schools.

"I mean, we're surprised with the results," said Scott Bideau, a school board member and co-chair of Yes 2 Steamboat Schools, a committee formed to support the bond measure, after hearing preliminary results Tuesday night. "But I just talked with the team, and we're all very proud to have stood alongside the principals, the teachers and parents who supported this plan."

Unofficial results released Tuesday night showed 5,129 votes against the bond, versus 1,326 in favor.

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A related mill levy override that would have paid for operating costs of the new high school and converted third elementary school also failed by a three-to-one margin, with 77 percent of voters opposed.

The override would have increased over a three-year period and eventually generated $1.98 million annually through an increase in property taxes.

Representatives from Citizens for a Better Plan, a committee formed to campaign in opposition to the bond, did not return multiple calls after the results came in Tuesday night.

School board member Joey Andrew, who was re-elected to the board Tuesday, said the results of the bond measure were "unfortunate," but he was sure the community would come together to create a new plan that would work best for all the stakeholders involved.

Bideau said he's looking forward to what new solution the community comes up with to solve overcrowding in the district.

"We're looking forward to the community putting together something for next year, because the challenges and the need still exist," he said.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow