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Fourth time not a charm for Maple Valley School District in referendum vote

TOWER CITY, N.D. -- Maple Valley School District voters defeated a $14.3 million bond referendum at the polls Tuesday, April 25, making it the fourth time such measure didn't meet the supermajority threshold...

Maple Valley School District voters defeated a bond referendum on April 25 that would have renovated and added to the district's high school in Tower City and closed elementary schools in Buffalo and Oriska. Special to The Forum
Maple Valley School District voters defeated a bond referendum on April 25 that would have renovated and added to the district's high school in Tower City and closed elementary schools in Buffalo and Oriska. Special to The Forum

TOWER CITY, N.D. - Maple Valley School District voters defeated a $14.3 million bond referendum at the polls Tuesday, April 25, making it the fourth time such measure didn't meet the supermajority threshold

"We have results that didn't go our way. It's been voted down," said a defeated Superintendent Brian Wolf after the results were in. "We don't know what we need to do to go over the hump."

The district needed 60 percent of voters to approve the bond, but fell less than 2 percent short. In final, unofficial results from Tuesday night, 381 voted no and 544 voted yes, or about 58.8 percent, according to DeAnn Buckhouse, Cass County election coordinator who supervised the voting Tuesday as the district is in both Cass and Barnes counties.

Wolf said there were 100 more voters in this referendum than the last vote in September 2016, which failed. In April 2016 it failed by just two votes and a $10.3 million plan lost by 10 votes in January 2015.

"More people came out but we didn't get enough yeses to overcome," he said.

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Voters in the Maple Valley School District were asked to approve a school bond referendum to allow the district to close schools in Oriska and Buffalo and consolidate all classes in an expanded facility in Tower City. Passage of the bond would've moved forward with the plan to have the high school be the sole building for all students in grades K-12.

Buckhouse said results won't be official until canvassing Monday, May 1, when they will count any holdovers or absentee ballots that came in prior to that date.

Wolf said even if all the absentees coming in later this week were all yes votes, "there's not enough to catch it."

Kim Hyatt is a reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead covering community issues and other topics. She previously worked for the Owatonna People's Press where she received the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Dave Pyle New Journalist Award in 2016. Later that year, she joined The Forum as a night reporter and is now part of the investigative team. She's a 2014 graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth.
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