Just a few votes could keep Fairfield City Schools from $19 million in state funding. Out of more than 13,000 votes cast, the Issue 8 bond was shot down by just 59 votes.
The $2.62 million bond would have generated more than $60 million to partner with funds from the Ohio School Facilities Commission to replace Fairfield Central Elementary and the Freshman School. It would also build a brand new school. That money would bring the project to a total of nearly $80 million.
With the bond's failure, administrators are left wondering what's next. While they can make some temporary fixes, they're hoping another go-around at the polls, possibly in May, can get them their new buildings.
"I feel like we're asking for everything that is in the best interest of the kids. This had nothing to do with teachers. This had nothing to do with the staff members. It was 100% for the kids," said Karrie Gallo, principal at Central Elementary.
Central Elementary's building was built in 1929.
Walking around the school, you can see holes, patches in carpeting to protect from asbestos, a broken heating system and water dripping from pipes. But, without the bond, temporary fixes will have to do.
"We're going to have to make some corrections here. We're going to have to fix some things that are broken. It's going to be very expensive, and it's only going to be a band-aid," Gallo told FOX19.
For one Fairfield mother, she's putting her kids through the schools in Fairfield. She's seen the need firsthand, so she voted for the bond.
"I have been born and raised in Fairfield. I know how old the schools are, and it would be very beneficial for the children to have a better environment," said Beth Bailey, a Fairfield resident.
However, not everyone saw the bond as something practical, and voted it down.
"Two years ago, I did pass the levy. I thought running another levy so soon was perhaps a bit much," said Pam Kimmel, who lives in Fairfield.
FOX19 then showed Kimmel video shot inside Central Elementary of a handful of their problems.
"I didn't realize that the buildings were in that much of disarray," said Kimmel.
The district hasn't lost the state money yet. To get it, they had 13 months to pass a bond. If it is on the ballot in May and it passes, they could still get that money.
But, it is up to the school board to decide to put it on the ballot again.
Had the bond passed, it would have cost homeowners a little over $91 a year for each $100,000 the home is worth.
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