By ROBERT PIERCE
• Leader & Times
By a narrow margin, voters in the Turpin school district recently turned down a school bond issue that would have provided additional safe space for students to go to in the event of an emergency.
The vote was 134 votes in favor of the bond and 131 against, and Turpin School Board President Jay Musgrave said he believes many voters either did not have the information needed or the information they were given was incorrect.
“We’re going to look things over again and see what we can do differently next time,” he said.
Board member Tara Kirkhart said a group opposed to the school bond had placed an ad in the Beaver Herald Democrat with the wrong facts.
“The community is upset,” she said.
Musgrave agreed, saying the school board made efforts to correct the information in the Beaver paper.
“It certainly didn’t help anything,” he said of the ad. “I don’t know how to combat that. I tried to put a letter to the editor in the Beaver paper the following week, and for some reason, it didn’t get published.”
Kirkhart confirmed that the correct information was not placed.
“We had something written up and sent, and it accidentally got left out of the paper,” she said.
Musgrave said the ad said the bond project called for a new gymnasium, and no plans in the near future call for Turpin to do anything with its current gymnasium.
“It’s fine,” he said. “What we were looking to build is a multi-purpose facility, which would include a P.E. facility for grade school and junior high, a practice facility for fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth and high school, a place where we could possibly have tournaments for fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth. It would be multi-purpose, not just a gymnasium. We have a great gymnasium already.”
Something Turpin schools do not have at this point, however, is a safe room for fires, tornadoes and other emergencies, but Musgrave said faculty and staff are making due with what the school has in place at the present time.
“We have drills at the school. It’s just getting in the halls and crouching down just like you and I did when we were in grade school,” he said. “That’s all we knew. There is a basement under an old stage, but I wouldn’t recommend anybody going there. It may be safer, but it’s just a wooden floor on top of the basement. It could fall in on you.”
The bond being proposed has a $2.75 million price tag to be paid off over 10 years. Musgrave said since the school district is not looking to make any changes to its initial proposal, a new election cannot take place for another six months.
“Naturally, I’m disappointed, but I am encouraged from what I heard after the election,” he said. “I’ feel pretty certain that if we did it tomorrow, it would pass. The people just didn’t have the right information, and I think it’ll be up to us to get that information to them this next time, make sure they’re well informed.”