After both referendum questions were soundly defeated Tuesday night, Brandon-Evansville Schools Superintendent Don Peschel called the defeat of two referendums Tuesday a disappointing outcome for students. But the district respects the results of the election, he added.
“Looking ahead, we recognize that the health, safety and learning challenges of our aging school buildings are not going away. We plan to reevaluate our options,” Peschel said in a statement provided to the newspaper, noting that he will provide updates on the next steps the district takes.
“Our commitment to each and every student is unwavering, and we are grateful for the ongoing support from so many Brandon and Evansville residents,” he said. “Despite the outcome, our teachers, staff, and district officials remain committed to providing all students in the Brandon-Evansville district with a great education.”
Breaking down the results
The two questions on the ballot were both supported by voters in Brandon, and both opposed by voters in Evansville.
Question one failed by a margin of 59.3% to 40.7%, with the vote 929 to 638. It would have provided $19.9 million in bonds to convert the Brandon School to a pre-kindergarten through grade 12 school. Those funds would have also been used to demolish a portion of the school in Evansville.
Question two failed by a vote of 971 to 590, or 62.2% voting against it. The question was contingent on the passing of the first question, and would have provided an additional $5.3 million in bonds for a new multi-purpose gym with locker rooms and to add a dedicated space for the Chargers Kid Club, both at the Brandon campus.
Those totals include absentee ballots.
Voters in Precinct 1, Brandon, supported the measure, with 463 "yes" votes or 56 percent of the total votes cast, 825, while 362 "no" votes were tallied, or 44 percent.
In Precinct 2 in Evansville, the referendum was soundly defeated. Of the 570 total votes, there were 471 "no" votes and 99 "yes" votes, a margin of 83 to 17 percent.
For question two, voters in Brandon approved it 426 to 397, while Evansville voters opposed it 476 to 92.
There were 172 absentee ballots district-wide, with 96 "no" votes and 76 "yes" votes for question one and 98 "no" votes and 74 "yes" votes for question two.
Results will not be official until they are canvassed by the school board Nov. 12.
Brandon-Evansville School Board Chairman David Anderson said he was surprised by the difference of “yes” voters to “no” voters and thought the vote would be closer. He had his doubts it was going to pass, but was pretty sure it would pass in Brandon, which it did.
“I’m just disappointed that the voters can’t see the benefit of what we are trying to do,” he said.
Anderson said that school board members will have a discussion on what the next steps will be, in light of the referendum results.