2013 Election Results: Mishawaka voters shoot down $28M school plan; Goshen backs $17M school expansion


The votes are in and it's bad news for Mishawaka Public Schools. The controversial $28 million referendum was voted down by a landslide, with 68 percent saying "no."

Superintendent Dr. Terry Barker says he doesn't know how he'll pay for repairs and upgrades that his schools need.

They're not the numbers Barker hoped to see.

"I'm disappointed for kids," Barker said.

The bond would have paid for everything from repairs to new windows to technology and security upgrades.

"Not really sure where we go from here," Barker said. "It's one of those cases where we use the funds that we have and if we don't have the money, we'll have to look at the potential of a building closure."

"Scare tactics, we're gonna close the school, really?" Mike Wojtysiak said. Wojtysiak campaigned against the referendum, which the superintendent says would have cost the owner of a $100,000 home an extra $110 a year in property taxes for the next 20 years.

"It was just too much and I think they took on too much," Wojtysiak said. "The community can't afford a large increase like that. If it would have passed it would have divided Mishawaka, you would have the south side with taxes significantly higher than the north side of town."

Of the 22,000 registered voters in Mishawaka, only about 18% of them voted Tuesday.

By law, the school district has to wait a year-and-a-half before asking the community to pass another referendum. The superintendent says he's not sure if he'll do that.

In Goshen, a special election was held to determine if the school system can go ahead with plans for a $17 million expansion and renovation project, and voters overwhelming said "yes."

The Goshen project would center around work at the high school and middle school and includes plans for a new swimming pool and adding space for music programs at both schools as well as adding more classroom space.

Unofficial numbers show 61% supported the plan, while 39% voted against it. Voter turnout in Goshen was reported around 15%.

In other election news, voters in Benton Harbor shot down a proposed income tax hike. Those living in the city would have had to pay an extra 1% of their gross income, while non-residents working in the city would have had to pay .5%. Final vote was 667-to-543.

Dowagiac Mayor Donald Lyons has been re-elected after beating challenger Junior Oliver, 267-to-238.

For 2013 election results in Michigan, click links below:

Berrien County:

Cass County:

St. Joseph County:

Van Buren County: