FAIRMONT -- Though the turnout at the polls was light, a majority of voters in Marion County soundly defeated the $12 million dollar school bond during Saturday's election.
With 74 of 75 precincts reporting Saturday evening, residents voted 5,617 against and 4,070 for, thereby defeating the bond that would have helped to build a new middle school.
Marion County has more than 37,000 registered voters, according to Donna Audia, an election worker.
The proposed new middle school would have replaced the existing Miller Junior High, which serves grades 7 and 8, and Dunbar Middle School, which serves children in grades 5 and 6.
Superintendent Thomas Long said he was both surprised and disappointed.
"This bond was for a good, sensible project, one that the public had identified as their number one priority. I don't really have an answer to why it failed," Long said.
The state School Building Authority earlier awarded the Marion County Board of Education $3 million toward the construction of a new middle school. That funding was tied to the passage of the bond.
"I'm not sure what the next step will be. The board has not yet had time to discuss this or evaluate what we should do," Long said.
Assistant City Editor Gail Marsh can be reached at 626-1447 or by e-mail at email@example.com.