Before casting their ballots in Thursday’s mail-in election, voters in Great Bend USD 428 had a lot to consider. The school board had signed off on a plan that would require almost $45 million of taxpayer money, which said taxpayers would be paying for the next 20 years. It was a plan that would address major safety issues, add a new wing for sixth graders – who would move to Great Bend Middle School – and pave the way for free preschools in neighborhoods throughout the district. There was a second question about whether or not to pay for a new gym at GBMS if the plan to move sixth graders was approved.
Now the people have spoken. As this is being written, the ballots are being counted but the outcome of the election is unknown. But if you’re reading Friday's Great Bend Tribune, those results can be found on the front page. If you're reading this on our website, you'll know as soon as we know. Whether or not it was the outcome you wanted, it was what the majority of those who cast a ballot thought was best.
It’s encouraging to know that voter turnout was around 45%. That’s not even half of the number that could have voted, but compare it to the mail-ballot election last month in Maize USD 266; voters there approved a total of $108.2 million in bonds with a turnout of just 11.6%.
Until the votes were counted, it was anyone’s guess how USD 428’s election would turn out. On Tuesday, Newton also held a bond election by mail ballot and both questions failed. That was for a total of $85.74 million and the voter turnout was 54%.
Butler County had two bond elections for schools this year. The Bluestem USD 205 election on April 2 failed with 51% voting no. The Remmington-Whitewater USD 206 election passed in March with 50.63% voting yes. After the results were certified, the bond for nearly $10 million to build a new multi-purpose gymnasium that would be open to the community passed by 14 votes. So, yeah, your vote counts.
If you voted, it counted.