Osceola referendum and override both pass

Greg Marsten | Staff writer
OSCEOLA – There were two separate ballot questions for voters in the Osceola School District, and both of them passed by nearly a two-to-one margin. Unofficial results show the two questions passing by approximately an 1,800 to 950 final, in favor.
Question 1 will allow the district to use up to $1-million for school operations for the next two budget years, it will allow them to spend the money on teacher and staff salaries, software and technology upgrades, student curriculum and programming, general district utilities and general maintenance costs - basically all general expenditures. The override allows the district to adjust their budget for two years at up to $1-million each year. The final vote was 1,823 for and 954 against.
Question 2 allows for a one-time, $10-million bond issuance, and is much more restrictive on how the money can be spent, but allows the district to spend for things that included safety and security upgrades, specific technology and building remodeling and reconstruction, as well as efficiency and deferred maintenance on things like heating, ventilation and air conditioning, which were all prioritized from a deferred maintenance list of items that expenses that may cost up to $17-million, from a detailed list of items the district believes needs attention in the coming years. Question 2 passed by a similar margin as Question 1, with 1,792 voting in favor and 972 against.
The Osceola referendum questions were tempered somewhat by math, since the final impact on taxpayers was relatively moot. Since 2017 the district has been paying down their existing debt with additional payments, meaning that debt will be retired entirely by the 2022-2023 school year, which technically means this referendum essentially has a zero-net tax impact on district taxpayers.

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