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BEA’s referendum vote fails

By Staff | Nov 10, 2019

There was a large turnout – and long lines – of voters at the polling site in Blue Earth for last Tuesday’s school referendum election.

The proposed referendum for the Blue Earth Area School District went down in defeat by a narrow margin in a special election held on Tuesday, Nov. 5. The final vote tally was 756 voting against the referendum and 721 voting for the referendum, a difference of 35 votes.

In the election for the School Board, Jeff Eckles, who ran unopposed, was elected to fill out the term of Jeremy Coxworth with over 95 percent of the vote. Eckles received 1,333 votes. There were a total of 64 write-in votes.

“There are a lot of unknowns today,” BEA superintendent Mandy Fletcher said. “I want to thank everybody who came out and voted and everybody who attended the meetings.”

There were five different polling places around the county. Voters in two of the places, Blue Earth and Frost, voted in favor of the referendum. Voters in three of the polling places, Winnebago, Delavan and Elmore, voted against the referendum.

“My door is always open and I am always available to listen to what people want to see in their school,” Fletcher stated. “For people who voted against the referendum, it is important I hear their concerns regarding the district so we can address those concerns and make improvements to better meet the needs of the district and its students.”

Percentage wise, the referendum failed by less than three points, 51.18 percent to 48.82 percent.

Those voting in Blue Earth supported the measure with 449 voting for and 309 against. Frost was the other polling place where the proposed referendum had the majority of yes votes. The number of people voting in favor of the measure in Frost was 73 while 53 voted against it.

The vote in Winnebago and Delavan was very much against the referendum. Over 72 percent of the people voting in Winnebago and almost 63 percent of the people in Delavan voted against the referendum. In Winnebago the vote was 200 against and 76 for the measure. The vote in Delavan was 124 against and 73 for the referendum.

Elmore also had more voters opposing the referendum, with 70 people voting no and 50 people supporting the referendum.

“Going forward, my job is to meet with my staff and give them guidance on the possibilities of what this could mean,” Fletcher explained.

At this time a recount is not anticipated, according to Fletcher.

“There are no answers today; it is about allowing ourselves to feel the emotions about the election results so we can clear our heads and make what will be some very tough choices,” Fletcher concluded.