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Corbett rejects $15 million bond

Residents fears of growing the Corbett School District as well as the price tag of a $10 million bond measure may have led to its defeat Nov. 5, said Charlie O’Neil, school board chairman.

As of 10 p.m., almost 63 percent of the voters, or 865, had voted "no," whereas more than 37 percent, or 509, had voted "yes."

O’Neil said the results were discouraging but not completely unexpected. Corbett's "Catch-22" is that it draws students outside the district who bring in extra funding for programming. However, those extra students require extra building space, he said.

The bond would have improved safety, made renovations to meet seismic codes and made operations more efficient throughout the district. Now, however, the district must figure out what to do to address pressing building issues, particularly with its middle school building, which the district says has been deemed unsafe.

Many parties said that they supported a bond measure, but not the $15 million price tag on this particular one. Both the district and parties who opposed the bond have expressed interest in pursuing a scaled back bond measure in May or November 2014.

Karina Lande, director of Save Our School (SOS), a group opposing the bond, said it likely failed because the community believes the administration was not going to cap the enrollment of students from outside the district. She said she hopes the district and public can work together to create a new plan to fix district buildings that would cost between $8-to-10 million.

“I hope the community can come together on both sides and take care of the buildings' needs so our kids have safe schools,” Lande said. “My biggest hope is there is a lot of strong community involvement in this. We need more surveys, outreach and forums. We need to go back and get opinions from residents.”

O’Neil said the district needs to discuss plans for the 90-year-old middle school.

“We need to look at how much longer we want to have kids at the old middle school,” O’Neil said. “We’re going to have to the make the decision as a school board. If you wanna stay in there, you’re rolling the dice. We’re not in a position I would want to be in if we had an earthquake.”

The Corbett School Board voted 5-2 to put the bond to voters this fall.

Board members Annette Calcagno and Victoria Purvine voted against the bond, citing concerns about both the cost of the bond as well as its perceived lack of details.