OSAGE, Iowa – According to the Mitchell County Auditors Office, around 1,300 Mitchell County residents voted on a $14.9 million bond issue on Tuesday.
Osage school officials say they needed at least 60 percent in order to pass the bond and with only 647 yes votes, it fell short by 12 percent.
One of the 1,300 that voted is Larry Hemann of Osage. Hemann says the school does need to be updated but this referendum was too much all at once.
“Some of those windows are inefficient and haven’t been replaced since the building was built,” he says. “But adding $11 a month to our property tax is just too much.”
Those with the Osage School District say they are happy with the number of people that turned out for the vote and still plan on trying to update what they can.
“We have a strong Capital and PPEL (Physical Plant and Equipment Levy) fund,” says Osage Community Schools Superintendent Barb Schwamman. “Those are the funds that get used to make updates to the buildings. A lot of the updates that need to be made are things that have been around since the building was built 50 years ago.”
The money would have gone to updates to windows, a heating system, updated band and choir rooms as well as science labs and a new gym. Hemann says while he hopes these updates get made, the focus needs to stay on the children’s education.
“We have a good school district and a lot of these updates are really needed, but this was just too much at once,” he says.