Update 10:00pm: The bond failed to reach a super-majority with 216 “YES” votes and 111 “NO” votes.
Voters in Bancroft are facing a $5 million decision, whether to pass a bond to build a new school.
The North Gem School in Bancroft was built more than 100 years ago.
And the old building is showing it’s age. Vertical cracks go through the school and foundation, widening every year.
“The foundation is lava rock, and that’s not very safe. And in fact we just did some renovating of our heating system and we found that the bricks powderized. So that makes us nervous a little bit,” North Gem School District Superintendent Jamie Holyoak said.
While it’s by no means condemned, school officials said the building certainly isn’t up to code either, so they want to build a new school.
“We want an environment that’s safe and conducive for learning. And we want to be sure that we can ensure parents that once they’re here, they’re in the safest possible structure,” Holyoak said.
The school will be placed right where the current one is, incorporating much of the same outside architecture, but a completely new inside, expanded and made safe.
But a safer school brings a significant price tag, especially in a rural community without a large number of taxpayers.
The bottom line, for a home-owner is about a $150 more in tax per $100,000 of property each year.
But the levy will have to win over a lot of voters, and get two-thirds of the vote for it to pass.
“Our kids are getting a good education and I think our community values that. As to whether or not they’re going to pass the bond today, I can’t be sure,” Holyoak said.