HJ/EDHerald Journal, Dec. 19, 2005

HLWW school vote fails but not by much

By Liz Hellmann
Staff Writer

About the same time the winter snow began to fall outside last Tuesday night, supporters of the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted bond referendum began to weather the storm inside, as the unofficial vote count shot down the request for a new high school once again.

“It was very close, and it was a great turnout for a special election,” Superintendent George Ladd said. “We engaged the public.”

It was a close election, indeed, with 1,157 voting for the bond and 1,193 voting against the bond, a difference of just 36 votes.

But Ladd insists it’s not all bad news, citing strides since the last bond referendum.

“It was 80 percent against the last time. We certainly have made progress and gotten closer to what the public wants,” Ladd said.

The bond included construction of a new 500-student high school with bus garage and athletic fields, conversion of the middle school and high school building in Howard Lake to a middle school only, and additions to the Waverly and Winsted elementary schools.

What’s next

The school board will have to canvass the vote and officially accept it at its next meeting. Then it will begin to look at strategies to the problems facing the school district now, and the possibility of bringing back the bond.

“I am disappointed with the results,” School Board Member Charlie Borrell said. “But we would be irresponsible to not come back to the district with this soon.”

“Our problems don’t go away with a ‘no’ vote,” Ladd said.

The board will be faced with making the decisions on what the next step is in the process, along with coming up with solutions to the space issues the district is dealing with now.

“I would tell anyone who is unsure we need this, to give me a call,” Borrell said. “My number is in the book.”

Howard Lake: 696 yes, 471 no

Waverly: 268 yes, 224 no

Winsted: 193 yes, 498 no

Total: 1,157 yes, 1,193 no

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