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Taylor Board gets input on failure of bond issue

by Paul Leakan

STAFF WRITER

GRAFTON -- Members of the Taylor County Board of Education have been wondering exactly why residents rejected the proposed $9.7 million school bond issue.

On Monday night, board members got exactly what they wanted: Plenty of feedback and even a few suggestions.

More than 50 residents huddled inside the Grafton High School cafeteria for the board's special meeting Monday.

Board members heard passionate pleas from several county residents who either adamantly opposed or supported the bond issue.

Many residents said they simply didn't receive enough information about the bond to make an educated decision.

Others, however, simply believed the bond issue was doomed to fail because many area residents already feel overtaxed.

"We're getting taxed to death," said resident Herman Moran.

Aside from taxes, some residents were concerned about whether they should invest more money into the county's aging schools or simply consolidate some of the schools.

Those who opposed the bond issue also suggested the possibility of allowing residents to vote on each expenditure that was being proposed in the bond issue.

"By lumping everything together, it forced people to vote against it more than for it because they couldn't pick and choose," said Grafton resident Jackie Hunt. "We need to separate each item out."

The bond would have financed improvements to five schools, including nearly $6 million for new athletic facilities at Grafton High School.

The bond also would have provided money for three elementary schools, including $1.1 million for Flemington, $1.2 million for Pruntytown and $1.3 million for Hepzibah.

Even though the bond failed in late December, several residents said they still support its passage, especially because many believe the athletic upgrades are direly needed.

"My son wrestles, and when I'm in other counties I see facilities that just put ours to shame," said Grafton resident Becky Bartlett.

Residents discussed the bond for more than two hours.

Board members said they will take all of the information into account and make a decision sometime in the future.

"This is what we need to know," said Taylor County Board of Education President Betty Rose Morrison. "How did we fall down? Where do we need to go?

"We intend to sit down together and discuss what we heard."

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