Goddard, Clearwater voters say ‘yes’

Voters in the Goddard and Clearwater school districts passed bond issues during Tuesday’s special election.

In Goddard USD 265, nearly 70 percent of voters said “yes” to a $52 million bond. There were 1,766 “yes” votes to 780 “no” votes.

The vote was closer in Clearwater USD 264, where a $15.8 million bond passed 52 to 47 percent. There were 460 votes for the bond and 419 against, a difference of just 41 votes.

These are unofficial results.

Both districts sold their bonds on the premise of improved safety and security.

In Goddard, the bond would add storm shelters at nine school buildings currently without one. The only buildings in the district with FEMA-rated shelters are the newest ones, Eisenhower High School, Eisenhower Middle School and Apollo Elementary.

The bond also will provide money for facility maintenance and efficiency improvements like LED lights and energy-efficient windows and doors.

“I feel great, because we knew it’s been needed for kids for a long time,” said Ryan Jilka, co-chair for Goddard’s bond steering committee. “I was up last night, just thinking, ‘What if,’ because failure wasn’t an option with this. We weren’t talking about something that was flashy. We were talking about something that was needed.”

In Clearwater, the bond will help create stronger storm shelters at Clearwater Elementary West, Clearwater Intermediate Center (CIC) and Clearwater Middle School (CMS). The CIC and CMS – now free-standing buildings – will be linked by the addition of a storm shelter and new office.

All school buildings will receive secure entrances. Many districts have been upgrading their school entrances. Safety upgrades were part of the recently-completed bond issue in Cheney, and are part of the bond construction continuing in Haysville.

Clearwater’s bond also will take care of several maintenance projects considered too large for the regular capital outlay budget.

Clearwater superintendent Paul Becker said he and his colleagues are excited that voters approved.

“I know a lot of people put a lot of hard work into this, so we feel very thankful about the voters’ decision,” he said.

Becker said the small margin of victory didn’t surprise him.

“In talking to people, I think that’s about where we thought it would be. And I will say to those who had some questions about it, they had fair questions,” he said.