School bond issue passes overwhelmingly

Published 10:21 pm Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Less than 10 percent of the qualified voters in the Brookhaven School District cast votes Tuesday concerning an $8 million bond note, but enough of those check marks were in favor of it so it passed easily.

Out of four precincts, 768 votes — or 78.45 percent —were cast for the bond, while 211 votes — or 21.55 percent — were against it, said Lincoln County Circuit Clerk Dustin Bairfield. That’s 979 individuals out of just over 10,000 qualified to vote who went to the polls. Bairfield had expected at least 2,000 voters to visit the polls Tuesday. Forty-three absentee votes were cast prior to Tuesday’s vote.

In order to pass, at least 60 percent of the votes needed to be cast in favor of the proposition.

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Brookhaven School Superintendent Ray Carlock waited in the Lincoln County Circuit Courtroom to watch the polling boxes return to be counted Tuesday night.

“Thank you to the Brookhaven community for voting in favor of the Brookhaven School District bond issue today,” he said after Bairfield announced the results. “The monies from the bond will be used to fund the much-needed facility improvements in our schools. Our goal is to provide a superb education in a safe environment that will enable our students to be successful in their chosen fields of endeavor.”

He said passing this bond issue is a step forward in that direction.

“Today showed that everyone truly takes pride in saying ‘We are Ole Brook,’” he said.

Breaking down the vote, by precinct:

• Precincts Alexander, East Lincoln, Fair River, Forestry and Government Complex voted at Alexander Junior High auditorium: 166 votes for, 49 against

• Precincts Brookhaven High School, Pearlhaven, Big Springs, Heucks Retreat, Brignall/Rogers Circle, Montgomery, Little Bahalia and New Sight voted at BHS gymnasium: 200 votes for, 55 against

• Precincts City Hall, Enterprise, Ole Brook and Johnson Grove votee at Brookhaven Elementary School auditorium: 139 votes for, 44 against

• Precincts Halbert Heights, Lipsey Middle School, Old Red Star, Vaughn, Zetus and Loyd Star voted at Lipsey Middle School gymnasium: 263 votes for, 63 against

The district plans to use the funds for facilities upgrades and improvements to safety and security systems at schools.

The Brookhaven School District paid off its recent General Obligation bond of $5,345,000 in March. The proposed $8 million bond would not cause a tax increase, Carlock said.

About $500,000 is earmarked to upgrade security. The rest of the money would be used for upgrades to facilities, including the addition of classrooms.

Before the current GO bond was issued in 2006, the district paid a $7.3 million GO bond that was issued in 2000, according to newspaper archives.

The district’s new GO bond can’t be over $8 million but it can be less. It will be issued for a maximum of 20 years.