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Bond Vote For Tea School District Fails

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The Tea Area School District is growing and trying to expand. Tuesday voters that live in the school district cast their ballots on the $11 million bond that would allow that.

That bond has failed to pass.
School leaders said they needed 60 percent of the votes cast to be yes. They missed that by 2.3 percent.

The Tea Area School District is growing by about 6 percent each year. Schools are already at full capacity in some cases. Tea Elementary has second graders in temporary buildings.
Around 3,500 people who live in the Tea Area School District had the opportunity to vote on the $11 million bond and expansion for the district.

Jennifer Lowery, Tea Area School District Superintendent said, "We are growing and it’s very important.”

For over a year, Jennifer Lowery, Tea Area School District’s Superintendent, has been working with the school board to create an outline for how the district can expand. The plans have caused a lot of controversy. Because of that, Lowery said she is happy this decision was made by voters.

“I am confident that the people will speak and it’s encouraging that so many are coming out to voice their opinion," Lowery said.

And as you drive down the streets in the district, it's very clear that this vote will have people doing just that.  
The $11 million bond was three phases.
“The addition to the elementary school here in the city limits will be approximately $2 million," Lowery said.

The plan was to also build a $5.5 to $6 million elementary in the field across from the Family Wellness Center on the north side of Tea.

"And then there's the fine arts facility which is about $3.5 million," Lowery said.

The center would be an addition to the Tea Area High School.

The bond meant some extra money coming out of taxpayers’ pockets, which had many upset about the expansion. For every $1,000 a home is worth, an extra $1.34 in taxes will be added. So a home that is worth $100,000 will have an increased tax of about $134 dollars a year. But from Lowery's point of view, it’s for the kids, so it's worth it.

"It's an exciting day and our growth is not one point in time. The Tea Area School District is a story in itself and it’s going to be a journey," said Lowery.
Since the bond failed, Lowery said her and the school board will have to start at square one and find a way to create a cheaper expansion.

There were 633 yes votes, and 472 no.
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