LINN — It wasn’t even close.
The Woods School referendum was defeated Tuesday by a margin of almost 3-to-1.
The final tally was 208 to 70 not to approve a $5.55 million building project.
Even the poll workers at The Chapel on the Hill, one of two polling places, seemed stunned by the margin.
The vote there was 70 “no” and 15 “yes.” Those who voted at the Geneva Town Hall rejected the referendum 138 to 55.
Woods Administrator Ed Brzinski sat awaiting the results at Chapel on the Hill.
He was asked moments before the votes were announced which way the wind was blowing.
“I think it’s coming from the south,” he said with a smile.
After the final tally was reported, he tried to be philosophical about the vote. “It is what it is,” he said.
The referendum proposed a 22,000-square-foot addition for a new gym, six classrooms and more storage space as well as redesigning the front entrance to improve security.
Brzinski acknowledged that the voters had spoken. He said the school board would meet soon to discuss its plans. Doing nothing, doesn’t seem to be an answer.
“The issues aren’t going away,” he said. “You can’t have a 21st Century education with a 1960s school.”
In a previous story, Brzinski said another referendum was likely if this one failed.
He said a variety of concerns might have entered into the decisive margin including the cost to taxpayers and confusion over the impact of open enrollment. If the referendum was approved it would have raised taxes 6.8 percent.
“The board worked very hard to find a cost-effective solution,” he said.
Part of the process, he said, “was getting the word out.”
Two public hearings on the project certainly didn’t reflect the margin of defeat, and Brzinski said he was “cautiously optimistic” in the days leading up to the vote. Now, he says, it’s back to the drawing board.