Constantine school bond proposal fails by wide margin

CONSTANTINE — Voters in Constantine overwhelmingly defeated a second attempt at Constantine’s school bond proposal during the Tuesday, May 3 election.

Voters defeated the measure with 754 “No” votes (63 percent) to just 442 “Yes” votes (37 percent). Turnout for the election was recorded at 18.02 percent, according to the St. Joseph County Clerk’s office.

The bond was projected to generate $38.8 million, with the increase to the current tax rate anticipated to extend for eight years, until December of 2030. The majority of the bond funds raised, $26.8 million, would have been used to expand Eastside Elementary to house all K-5 students in the district, construct a new two-story addition while doing a partial demolition of one part of the existing building and a renovation on another part, construct an expanded separate drop-off for parents and buses, expand their gymnasium and cafeteria, and have dedicated specialty classroom space for art, music and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) classes. It would’ve also included the demolition of Riverside Elementary.

More parts of the bond funds would have gone to upgrades at the high school, middle school and Constantine Tech High School buildings, including new roofs and updated classrooms.

The margin of result in Tuesday’s election was wider percentage-wise than it was when the district’s first proposal was shot down last November. That proposal would’ve done more of the same, along with athletics facilities upgrades that were removed in Tuesday’s proposal, but would’ve generated $45.6 million. In that election, there were 356 “No” votes to 266 “Yes” votes, a margin of 57 to 43 percent.

Constantine Superintendent Jim Wiseley said he was “disappointed” by Tuesday’s result, and said the district will have to figure out how to move forward with some projects described in the proposal that he called “needs not wants,” with the roofs being top priority.

“There’s definitely needs in that [proposal] that we’re going to have to find a way to get it done,” Wiseley said. “We’ve got a team that will meet in the next couple of weeks and we’ll start devising a plan.”

Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 22 or robert@threeriversnews.com.

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