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Despite 75% state aid, WMRSD voters nix $18 million CTE project

March 19, 2014
WHITEFIELD — The White Mountains Regional School District school board didn't close the sale.

Almost the same number of voters said "yes" to the proposed $18 million Career and Technical Education (CTE) project on March 11 as in last year's effort, but the number of "no" votes swelled by 267 over a similar effort on March 12, 2013.

Despite a guarantee of a whopping 75 percent in state aid that would have reduced the District's direct cost to some $4.5 million, a majority of voters in all five SAU 36 towns voted "no" against the proposed 70,000-square-foot CTE addition at WMRHS: Lancaster, 360 to 391; and Whitefield, 209 to 233; Jefferson, 118 to 134; Carroll, 125 to 141; and Dalton, 113 to 136.

Only 47.19 percent of the 2,017 voters said "yes" at the polls this year.

On March 11, 925 voters cast "yes" votes, and 1,035, "no," plus 57 blanks, making a total of 2,017 ballots. Under SB2, passage of a bond issue requires a 3/5ths super-majority of 60 percent.

This year's count fell short by nearly 13 percent; blanks do not count when percentages are computed.

Last year a warrant article for the same purpose received 54.76 percent of the "yes" votes after the March 19 recount, only slightly more than five percent short of passage.

The 2013 recount was tallied with 932 "yes" and 770 "no," plus 48 blanks, making a total of 1,750 ballots. Before the Board of Recount completed its task on March 19, 2013, the proposed CTE project was thought to have garnered 56.46 percent of the vote.

This year, 267 more ballots were cast than in 2013. Likely more voters were drawn to the polls because of the District 1 Executive Councilor's race, won by Joe Kenney, a Republican of Wakefield.

All other District warrant articles passed.

The proposed $19,580,112 operating budget passed, 1,227 to 714, with 76 blanks.

The teachers' contract passed, 1,027 to 817, with 173 blanks.

The support staff's contract passed 1,094 to 747, with 176 blanks.

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