Time running out to vote in Newton school bond

Local

NEWTON, Kan. (KSNW) – Will Newton schools get a remodel for Newton High School and possibly a new elementary school?

Voting is happening by mail until Tuesday at noon.

It’s a hot button issue you cannot avoid in Newton right now with signs all over town.

“I am voting yes,” said resident Matt Hockett.

“I voted no,” said resident Janet Soukup.

The school bond issue has been in the works since 2014. Voters will be answering two questions.

The first is a bond for $61 million to update Newton High School.

Hockett, a parent in the district, says it’s needed.

“The security measures and the upgrades to the school,” he said. “I think in this day and climate that’s an important issue that we need to address. I think also just the educational facilities, a new science wing.”

But some people in town, like Soukup, a lifetime Newton resident, believe some upgrades included in the bond are not necessary.

“The commons area is one,” said Soukup. “The gymnasium is another.”

The second question on the bond could close the Walton Rural Life Center and build a new elementary school to help reduce class sizes.

This can only pass with a majority “yes” vote and the passing of the first question in the bond.

Hockett, who voted in favor of both, says there’s no better time than now for this to pass.

“Interest rates are low,” he said. “The state is matching some of those funds.”

But Soukup believes some changes need to happen before passing a school bond, including more transparency from higher up.

“With the BOE members that are up for reelection, people are wanting to put new members in those seats, get some new vision in there,” she said.

The Harvey County Elections Twitter page shows that, as of Friday, 46 percent of mail in ballots have been turned in.

The deadline to drop them off is noon Tuesday at the county courthouse.

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