Laurel voters rejected a pair of school bonds Tuesday night, leaving schools to grapple with overcrowding for at least another year. 

School officials had proposed a sweeping project that would have built a new elementary school, remodeled an existing elementary school into a new career and technical education facility, and remodeled other buildings. 

A $37.6 million ask for grades K-8 trailed 1,489 - 1,981, while a $14.9 million ask for grades 9-12 trailed 1,405 - 1,946. Combined, the bond would cost about $125 per year on a $100,000 home.

Laurel trustees and school officials held months of public meetings with architects and school planners, identifying priorities and winnowing down building proposals that would meet goals. 

Beefing up career and technical education was a top priority, and the proposed project would have turned South Elementary into a supplementary high school building focusing on career and technical education classes. 

A new elementary school for grades 3-5 would have helped ease pressure on the crowded middle school, removing fifth-graders. The building currently hosts grades 5-8.

Kindergartners who attended South Elementary would move to West Elementary. Renovations would add classrooms and a gym to accommodate grades K-3. At the high school, a second gym would be added and interior remodels would increase classroom space.

Graff Elementary School, currently home to grades 3-4, would be re-purposed as an administrative building. The current administrative building at 410 Colorado Avenue would be sold. The plans also address dozens of deferred maintenance projects.

City races

  • Dave Waggoner held a commanding lead in the mayoral election at about 53 percent over Thomas Nelson. The winner will replace Mayor Mark Mace, whose term ends Dec. 31.
  • Jean M. Kerr was elected unopposed as city judge.
  • In City Council Ward 2, Bruce McGee won unopposed. Wards 1 and 3 had tighter races, as Heidi Sparks and Irving Wilke held slim leads. 
  • In City Council Ward 4, no candidates were on the ballot. The county elections office plans to tabulate write-in votes Wednesday. The winning candidate can accept or reject a spot on the council. 
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