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SPS' $220M bond issue gets strong support at ballot box

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Tuesday represented an overwhelming victory for Springfield Public Schools.

The district's $220 million bond issue received 77.7% approval, or 22,434 votes, according to the unofficial results posted by the Greene County clerk's office.

"We’re thankful that voters recognized a need and responded in support of our students, staff and community," Superintendent Grenita Lathan said in a news release.

The SPS bond issue is now set to fund safety and security upgrades at school facilities. Two middle schools, Pipkin and Reed, are slated to be replaced with new buildings, and Pershing, a K-8 building, will undergo renovations. Additionally, storm shelters at Cowden, Holland, Mann, Pittman, Watkins and Wilder elementaries are part of the bond issue, according to past reporting. Last week, SPS announced it was under contract for a 21-acre parcel of land in northeast Springfield to build a new Pipkin Middle School, funded by Proposition S.

The office of mayor and three Springfield City Council seats were contested races during yesterday's election.

Incumbent Mayor Ken McClure secured 53.2% of the votes to challenger Melanie Bach's 46.8%, according to the unofficial election results.

For the Zone 3 seat being vacated by Councilmember Mike Schilling, Brandon Jensen won over David Nokes with 53.8% of the votes.

For General Seat C, to be vacated by Councilmember Andrew Lear, Callie Carroll received 55.3% of the votes to win over Jeremy Dean.

General Seat D, which is being vacated by Councilmember Richard Ollis, went to Derek Lee, who won 52.1% of the vote count to defeat Bruce Adib-Yazdi.

Abe McGull of Zone 2 and Monica Horton of Zone 1 ran unopposed to keep their spots on council.

School board
Four candidates tossed their hats in the ring for two seats on the SPS Board of Education.

Newcomer Judy Brunner and incumbent Shurita Thomas-Tate brought in 28.4% and 24.8% of the votes, respectively, to secure the two spots. Landon McCarter won 24.3% of the votes, with Chad Rollins at 22.4%, according to the unofficial election results.

Trio of ballot questions
Voters yesterday approved all three ballot questions brought by the city of Springfield.

Question 1 passed with roughly 70% of the vote. The measure is designed to clean up the city charger language, for instance, by replacing the word “personnel” with the phrase “human resources," according to past reporting.

The ballot measure would also allow the city manager to delegate authority to remove nonregular types of employees to the HR director. This would typically apply to temporary and seasonal employees, rather than full-time employees. Additionally, the change would add certain employees to the list of unclassified service positions.

Question 2 got the nod with around 53% of voters in favor. The ballot initiative authorizes an ordinance approving acceptance of a bid and entry into contract with a successful bidder to be passed at the same council meeting in which it is introduced, according to past reporting.

Some 66% of voters gave the green light to Question 3, meaning the city has the authority to apply the 5% occupancy tax on hotels to short-term rentals, like those listed by Airbnb and Vrbo, according to past reporting.

An expanded article on the election results is scheduled to appear in Springfield Business Journal's April 10 print edition.


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