The final unofficial tally Tuesday night: 1,895 votes against the proposal versus 1,806 votes for the proposal.
Among other items, the school bond would have funded a new elementary school campus, enhanced district technology and upgrades at several district buildings.
The bond, to be paid over 30 years, would have raised the district’s debt levy to 7 mills, an increase of 0.569 mill. The owner of a $120,000 home would have seen an increase of $34 a year in property taxes.
Spring Lake Public Schools Superintendent Dennis Furton returned calls seeking comment Wednesday morning.
Furton said he was pleased and impressed with an “outstanding” voter turnout as more than 3,700 ballots were cast.
“They were very engaged in the bond process,” he said.
Once the district learned the bond didn’t pass, Furton said his thoughts turned to the group who spent time advocating for the millage and about what’s next for the district. Furton said they will begin looking at what parts of the bond worked and didn’t work.
“We’re going to seek to understand the results better,” he said.
Ottawa County Elections Coordinator Justin Roebuck said the district had a “substantial” turnout with about 30 percent of registered voters making an appearance at each precinct.
“It shows that voters are concerned about the issues,” he said.
Although the bond was defeated by 89 votes, Roebuck said it is a “fairly significant” margin where they wouldn’t expect to see results overturned.
After voting at Barber School on Tuesday afternoon, Spring Lake Village resident Lisa Engers said she felt some items could have been cut from the nearly $60 million proposal.
Engers said she teaches at a Zeeland high school where they passed a similar bond on a second attempt. Engers said her district had to cut “fluff” from their proposal before it passed.
While Engers said she liked the technology portion of the bond, she said parts of the bond seemed to be spent on things not focused on education.
Engers said she didn’t understand closing the two existing elementary schools in favor of one large school.
“The numbers just seemed pretty inflated to me,” she said.
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