A ‘decisive’ vote | CraigDailyPress.com

A ‘decisive’ vote

School bond passes by two-thirds

Collin Smith

Election judge Tammy Villard, right, helps Jessica German with the electronic voting booth Tuesday night at Centennial Mall. Voters were given the option of both electronic and paper ballots.

— When the unofficial vote totals for Referendum 3A were posted in the Moffat County Courthouse hallway Tuesday night, Joel Sheridan – a former math teacher – scanned the numbers and added up the results in his head.

I think we got about 64 percent, said Sheridan, current Moffat County School District assistant superintendent.

His math was not off.

Referendum 3A, a bond initiative for the Moffat County School District, passed in Moffat County by a two-thirds majority, coming in at 64 percent.

The results are unofficial until a canvass Nov. 14.

“We’re thankful for the support,” Superintendent Pete Bergmann said. “It speaks volumes about Craig to support education and health care. It’s a win for the community.”

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The bond initiative – a 20-year, $29.5 million tax – will go to capital construction costs, including building a new Craig Middle School and conducting large renovation projects at every district campus.

The results were not as close as School District officials, or representatives from its Citizens for Moffat County Schools campaign, had thought.

“I’m impressed by the fact that we entered this campaign with – I think – a 40 percent ‘hard no’ vote,” said Dave DeRose, a co-founder for the campaign organization. “I’m pleased that the vote was that decisive. I think it’s important for the community.”

J.B. Chapman, the campaign’s other co-founder, had similar feelings. He was happy the community embraced the School District’s plans, and happy the campaign contributed whatever it could.

“Our goal was not just to win, but to get major support from the community,” Chapman said. “The one-third that’s left, I hope they can become united with the community and we can move forward.”

One area of concern was that the bond initiative failed in the county’s rural communities of Dinosaur and Hamilton, and only passed by one vote in Maybell, according to unofficial results.

There’s really no way around their complaints – that they will be paying for schools their children don’t use – it’s just a fact of geography, Sheridan said.

The largest project the bond will pay for is at the middle school. The district plans to demolish most of the building, which was built in the 1940s, and erect new classrooms, which will better serve the educational needs of students, district representatives have said in the past.

The middle school’s current gym, industrial arts building and auditorium will stay, but will receive renovations to improve their structure, such as new roofs.

The new middle school will also have the capacity to house Moffat County’s sixth-grade students. Craig Intermediate School, where sixth-graders currently go to school with fifth-graders, will become an elementary campus.

All elementary schools in the district are planned to house preschool classrooms, and have significant construction projects to enhance building security.

Moffat County High School will receive $1 million to renovate the parking lot.

Updating the district’s technological infrastructure also is a priority, and will affect all schools.

There will also be smaller projects sprinkled throughout, including repairing roofs, improving ventilation and making the School District more energy efficient, which will save it money in the future, officials said.

After the results had settled in, many people with the district and its campaign left to celebrate.

Chapman could not join them. He had children at home that needed help with their homework, he said.

Collin Smith can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 209, or cesmith@craigdailypress.com

Referendum 3A results

Craig: 910 in favor, 460 opposed

Early and Absentee: 1,064 in favor, 600 opposed

Maybell: 33 in favor, 32 opposed

Dinosaur: 8 in favor, 31 opposed

Hamilton: 13 in favor, 17 opposed

Total: 2,028 in favor, 1,140 opposed

Total votes: 3,168

Source: Moffat County Clerk and Recorder’s Office. The vote totals are unofficial until a canvass Wednesday, Nov. 14.