With only a 12-vote difference, Elkhart Independent School District taxpayers voted down the district’s proposed $9.4 million bond for a new elementary school and renovated facilities.

After the polls closed Saturday, the vote count was tallied at 255 votes against the two-phase bond issue and 243 voting for the issue.

EISD Superintendent Dr. Glenn Hambrick reported being “disappointed, but not angry” about the taxpayers’ decision to vote down the bond.

“I am disappointed because I thought we really needed new facilities,” the superintendent said in a Saturday phone interview. “But I certainly understand why it did not pass.

“It required a significant tax increase from the tax payers,” Hambrick explained. “And they are already overburdened with high a high tax rate.”

Hambrick said that the state’s troubled school funding system played a role in keeping the bond from passing.

“It is quite a dilemma when taxes are as high as they are to ask the taxpayers to pay even more,” Hambrick said. “Even when you need new facilities.”

When asked what the district would do next, Hambrick said the board would be meeting Monday to discuss the issue.

“As of right now we can do nothing,” he said. “We’ll just have to meet and figure it out.”

The two-phase bond was called by EISD trustees in September.

To fund Phase I — a $7 million 35-classroom elementary school — the district estimated a maximum debt service tax rate increase of 33 cents, which would decrease to 13 cents upon the district’s qualification in the state Existing Debt Allotment (EDA) program.

Phase II, which was contingent upon the receipt of EDA for Phase I, included $2.4 million for facility renovations at the middle school and high school campuses.

The tax rate for Phase II would have increase the debt service tax rate another 11 cents the first year and then decrease to 4 cents with EDA participation.

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