For the second time in less than a year, Johnston voters went to the polls Tuesday to decide on the future of Johnston’s school facilities.
Johnston voters failed to pass a $51-million bond referendum last fall. Since then, the district revamped its plans in hopes of winning over voters with a new $41-million option.
The school district said that too much emphasis was put on the new high school instead of the need for growth. Leaders added that first time around, voters didn't know the whole story, and that's why the vote failed.
“We have such an issue with over-crowding out in Johnston and the continuously growing schools and I think people focused on the high school as opposed to that overcrowding issue the first time,” Johnston County school board vice president, Greg Dockum said.
This time, the school district worked much harder to educate voters about the overcrowding situation at the elementary and middle schools, and it seems to have worked.
The referendum passed with 66.6 percent of the vote.
There were about 1,000 more votes cast in this special election than the one last fall.
For the Johnston school district and the school board, this is a big victor. One they say points to the value that the citizens of Johnston put on their schools.
“They realize that the long-term need is there and they want to continue that long into the future for their kids and grandkids in the future,” Mike Farrell added.
Johnston will use the $41-million to begin building a new high school next spring. They will also make renovations to the existing high school, which becomes the new middle school.
The existing middle school gets reworked and becomes the new Wallace elementary school.