O'Fallon School District 90 voters firmly rejected a property tax increase Tuesday night. With all precincts reporting, the vote was 4,512 no votes and 2,476 yes votes.
The district was asking voters for a 49-cent increase, which would have brought the education fund rate from $1.40 to $1.89.
"The board decided that they needed to put this question to the community. Now, we move forward with our reduction plan," Superintendent Todd Koehl said. "The community voted for the reduction plan in place of raising taxes."
The plan includes eliminating all extra-curricular activities; music, physical education and computer classes at the grade schools, and electives including band, chorus, computer, study hall and art at the junior high schools.
Last month, the school board approved implementing a portion of the reduction plan, laying off nearly 90 staff members, which included honorably dismissing 33 certified personnel and 54 educational support personnel and one non-certified staffer.
These cuts and others will eliminate $2.7 million in operating costs for the district, according to Koehl.
Over the last three years, Koehl said the state has shorted the district close to $1.5 million and the projections for next year is the district will lose another $1.2 million.
Approximately 37 percent of voters turned out to cast their ballots with 7,074 voters participating in the election out of 19,043 registered voters.
Grant tax increase fails
Grant School District 110 voters narrowly rejected a property tax increase for the second time. The measure lost by 64 votes. With all 13 precincts reporting, the vote was 790 yes votes and 854 no votes.
In April 2011, more than 1,200 voted against the tax increase and 579 voted in favor of it.
"We are disappointed that it wasn't in our favor," said Superintendent Matt Stines. "We are very grateful to the people who did support the issue."
Stines said he's concerned for "what the future is going to hold" for the district. "We are going to have to access where we are at and look at where we are going next," he said.
Approximately 28 percent of voters turned out to cast their ballots with 1,717 voters participating in the election out of 6,145 registered voters.
Mascoutah school gets nod
Mascoutah School District 19 voters approved a plan to build a new elementary school in Shiloh. With all precincts reporting, the vote was 933 yes and 763 no.
"I think it speaks well for the community. They have always supported schools, and we are really happy they came through again," Superintendent Craig Fiegel said. "The schools are a reflection of the community and what they want us to be. They recognize we need space to serve students."
With the community's permission, the district can now move forward with plans to build a 35,000- to 40,000-square-foot elementary school off Green Mount Road in Shiloh.
Fiegel estimated the new school would cost between $7 million and $10 million to build, and the district would purchase 23 acres of fully-developed land from the Wingate Development at a cost of approximately $2 million. He said district officials plan to pay for the new school by borrowing against the district's cash reserves.
Approximately 18 percent of voters turned out to cast their ballots with 1,729 voters participating in the election out of 9,566 registered voters.
Smithton issue fails
Smithton School District 130 voters rejected a proposal to issue $12 million in school building bonds for a period of 20 years to build a new middle school and upgrade the existing school. With all precincts reporting, the vote was 1,441 no votes and 163 yes votes.
District officials were hoping to move forward with plans to build a new 47,000-square-foot middle school for sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students to be located on 38 acres on the south end of town off Illinois 159.
Approximately 47 percent of voters turned out to cast their ballots with 1,612 voters participating in the election out of 3,396 registered voters.
All results are unofficial.
Contact reporter Jamie Forsythe at 239-2562 or firstname.lastname@example.org.