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Natrona County School District Trustees Evaluating Options After Bond Failure

Natrona County School District
Karen Snyder, K2 Radio

Following the narrow failure of the Natrona County School District’s $33 million dollar bond on Tuesday, trustees with the district say they will have to take some time to reevaluate the county’s educational wants and needs.

“We had believed that the bond approach was the best approach, because it allowed us to do all of those elements over the next couple years,” board chairperson Dave Applegate said. “In looking at other avenues of funding, we’re going to have to prioritize in terms of what elements are most important and think about the time frame in which we can pay for some of those items.”

The bond would have paid for additional academy equipment, safety improvements, the construction of a new science and technology center, and the construction and renovation of swimming pools at Kelly Walsh High School, Natrona County High School and Midwest School. The tax burden for residential property owners would have been $21.72 per $100,000 of a home’s actual market value.

County residents voted the bond down by less than 400 votes – voters cast 4,991 votes against and 4,613 votes for. Applegate says he’s not certain what elements of the bond were seen unfavorably by voters.

“I don’t think it’s entirely clear in my mind right now which elements were least acceptable to the community, but that’s one of the things we’re going to have to think about over the next several months,” Applegate said.

All of the items in the bond were considered enhancements not eligible for state funding. Applegate says the district could redirect an annual $1.5 million stream of operational funds toward the projects outlined in the bond.

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