Ballot box

Litchfield School District voters approved two of three referendum questions Tuesday, agreeing to tax increases for educational programming and building improvements.

But voters soundly rejected the third ballot question, an $11.43 million bond to fund construction of a new swimming pool, as well as a soccer field and other items.

"We are overwhelmed and deeply grateful to Litchfield School District voters for approving two ballot questions seeking investments in our schools," Superintendent Beckie Simenson wrote in an email sent to district parents after the vote totals were announced. "Moving forward, we will be able to protect class sizes, educational programming, activities and athletics from future budget cuts. Further, we will be able to make major improvements in our schools that will support a dynamic curriculum, improve safety and address deferred maintenance issues that extend the life of our existing school buildings."

The first question on Tuesday's ballot was for an excess levy to provide an additional $625 per pupil for general education expenses.

Voters easily approved that, with 1,584 "yes" votes to 1,065 "no" votes.

The vote was much closer on Question 2 — 1,400 "yes" to 1,248 "no" — which allows for $32.9 million in bonding for building improvements throughout the district. According to the referendum question, the bond will fund "construction of improvements to the overall traffic flow, the creation of secure entries, the repurposing and creation of educational spaces, the repurposing and creation of common spaces, the completion of various deferred maintenance projects and the acquisition of furniture, fixtures and equipment."

Both of the first two questions had to be approved in order for Question 3 to be approved. But that did not happen, as the question was rejected 1,528-1,110.

"While the ballot question for an expanded pool and other athletic investments was not approved, we will continue to explore options to develop a new plan to address the needs of our swimmers, soccer players and broader community," Simenson wrote in her email. "Thank you to all who took part in the planning process for Litchfield Public Schools and everyone who voted in the referendum. This plan will allow us to build on the district’s proud past to sustain a promising future for all learners."

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